The state government suppressed farmers' rail blockade agitation by locking up many across the state but the spark of protest remains free in them.
Intent on the release of the protesters detained across the state, the farmers held in the Mansa jail went on a chain hunger strike on Wednesday. Members of the farm labour union Mazdur Mukti Morcha burnt an effigy of chief minister Prakash Singh Badal at Bhenibaga village of the district.
The agricultural trade unions have decided to keep the protest alive till March 25 in villages and even in jails. The agitation is on since March 10. Farmers had also have sought the release of peers arrested on a charge of killing an assistant sub-inspector of police during mob action in Tarn Taran district.
A protest outside the office of the deputy commissioner in each district is coming up, Sukhdev Singh Kokari Kalan, general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), has said. “All the nine farmers arrested in Tarn taran on a charge of murdering the ASI are innocent,” he said, “as the officer died of a natural cause.”
From March 18, farmers will protest in each district. “The state was under undeclared emergency when thousands of farmers were locked up in jail during protest to seek their constitutional right,” said Kokari Kalan.
Jail superintendent Sukhwinder Singh has confirmed that the chain hunger strike is on. “The farmers are protesting against the government over its not meeting their demands,” he said. Nearly 300 farmers are lodged in the jail.