The local unit of Association For Democratic Rights (AFDR) has termed the "suppression" of the labour-farmer movement an attack on democratic rights.
AFDR local unit president Bagga Singh and secretary Randhir Gilpatti, in a release, said the rights won by people in the freedom struggle are being crushed by the state.
"In the past few days, a large number of struggling labour and farmer activists, including their leaders, have been put behind bars all over Punjab. In Bathinda jail itself, along with 104 brick-kiln labourers, 220 protesters have been locked up. Among them are 45 STELCO labourers from Rampura who are protesting since January 9 for implementation of the minimum wages notification issued in December 2012," Bagga Singh said.
He added that, "Relatives are being harassed when they go to meet jailed protesters. The entire Punjab has been converted into a police state. Police are raiding the sympathisers of the movement to terrorise public. They are shameless enough to arrest renowned novelist and Baru Satbarg (70) from Rampura to curb the movement."
The "anti-people" development model is the root cause behind people's woes and problems, Randhir said, adding that the model has caused unemployment, inflation and various diseases among citizens. "It is the democratic right of people to struggle against it."
"The state is following methods and policies, which imperialist British government used to suppress freedom struggle. The association cautions all the democratic and intellectual sections of society that these are bare dictatorial steps adopted by the state to suppress the just movement. The association demands immediate release of all arrested, stopping raids and adopting a democratic approach to address the demands and problems of labour and farmer sections," said Randhir.