BKU (Ugrahan), SKM rally behind protesters after police action at Punjab and Haryana border - Hindustan Times
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BKU (Ugrahan), SKM rally behind protesters after police action at Punjab and Haryana border

By, , Chandigarh/jalandhar
Feb 15, 2024 08:06 AM IST

Prominent farmer organizations in Haryana, including Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and Samyukta Kisan Morcha, are holding protests against police action on farmers. They aim to mount pressure on the BJP government ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The organizations are condemning the use of tear gas shells and rubber bullets by Haryana security personnel on protesting farmers. They plan to hold protests on rail tracks and toll plazas in the state.

A day after the police in Haryana fired tear gas shells on farmers marching towards the national capital on their tractors, several prominent farmer organisations on Wednesday rallied behind the protestors to show their solidarity.

A protester throw the tear gas shell back during the protest at the Shambu Border of Punjab and Haryana border on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
A protester throw the tear gas shell back during the protest at the Shambu Border of Punjab and Haryana border on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a group of 37 farm unions, decided to hold separate protests on rail tracks and toll plazas in the state on Thursday against the police action. Both organisations were not part of the Delhi Chalo call. Their move to coalesce behind the protestors led by Jagjit Singh Dallewal of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political) and Sarwan Singh Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) is being seen in political circles as an attempt to mount pressure on the BJP government at the Centre with the Lok Sabha elections just two months away. The two organisations announced their protests against the use of tear gas shells and rubber bullets on protesting farmers by the Haryana security personnel at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders. Over 100 farmers were injured when they attempted to enter Haryana by removing the barricades that had been put up by the state police to halt their march.

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After a meeting, BKU (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said their supporters will sit on rail tracks across the state from 12 noon to 4 pm. “We are also against preventing farmers from heading towards Delhi as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ call by sealing the borders,” he said, condemning the use of police force. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, in an emergency meeting, extended its support to the ongoing protest and decided to make toll plazas on national and state highways across the state free for three hours from 11 am to 2 pm.

SKM leader Harmeet Singh Qadian said the police action is completely uncalled for as the farmer unions are protesting peacefully and democratically against the BJP government for their genuine demands.

“We strongly denounce the Haryana police action done at the behest of the central government against the farmers, who are being treated as enemies,” he said. Asked why they have not joined the Delhi Chalo protest, Balbir Singh Rajewal, state president of BKU (Rajewal), a constituent of SKM, said the call was given by SKM (non-political) and it is their (protesting unions’) prerogative whom they want to take along.

“The central government is projecting that the farmer unions in Punjab are divided, but the reality is that we all rally behind each other when it comes to farmers’ rights. The call to make tolls across the state free for three hours is completely in solidarity with agitating farmers. If required, we will intensify our support,” he said. The SKM, which includes BKU (Rajewal), BKU (Dakounda) and BKU (Lakhowal), also decided to hold its Bharat Bandh as scheduled on February 16. A meeting has been called on February 18 in Ludhiana to decide its next course of action against the central government.

BKU (Ugrahan) and SKM were at the forefront of the 13-month-long farmer agitation on the borders of Delhi from November 2020 to December 2021, seeking annulment of three farm laws, which were repealed and the agitation was called off. While SKM protested at the Singhu border, BKU (Ugrahan) blocked the Tikri border. Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) then led by Satnam Singh Pannu protested at a distance from the Singhu border.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Navrajdeep Singh is a senior staff correspondent. He covers agriculture, crime, local bodies, health and education in the Patiala district of Punjab.

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