Farmers in Punjab, Haryana intensify protests against farm bills; Oppn parties take to streets, too
Farmers intensified their protest against the Centre’s farm bills on Thursday in Punjab and Haryana by holding sit-ins and rallies across both agrarian states with opposition parties joining their agitation a day after Parliament’s monsoon session ended.
On a call given by the Kisan Sangharsh Committee (KSC), farmers gathered to protest near Devidaspur village in Amritsar on the Amritsar-Delhi rail route and on the tracks leading to the Ferozepur station near Basti Tanka Wali.
The committee leaders said they were getting support from various sections, including government employees, labourers and social activists.
They clarified that they would not allow any political leader, former or incumbent, to share the stage with them during their three-day protest that began on Thursday.
The farmer leaders also appealed to rural medical practitioners (RMP) to be ready for supporting the farmers in case of medical emergencies as a large number of women are taking part in the protests.
“The protest will be further intensified on September 26 as farmers will block rail tracks in Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Pathankot, Fazilka, Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts too,” said the committee’s state general secretary, Sarwan Singh Pandher.
The railways took the steam out of the farmers’ rail blockade plan by cancelling 28 trains from Amritsar and Ferozepur stations from 6am on Thursday in view the safety of passengers.
Radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa and seminary Damdami Taksal have extended their support to the farmers’ bandh call on September 25. Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said, “The people of Punjab, including the political parties, should join hands for the cause. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) should snap its ties with the BJP to show solidarity with farmers.”
The Punjab Youth Congress is organising a statewide ‘8 Vaje 8 Minute Mashal March’ on Thursday in support of the Punjab bandh call of farmers. State unit chief Brinder Singh Dhillon said that members will perform duties during the dharnas be it serving water, food or other things needed at the spot.
SECTION 144 IN AMRITSAR TILL SEPT 27
Meanwhile, police has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting the carrying of firearms, inflammable items and sharp-edged weapons in the Amritsar city till September 27.
Acting magistrate-cum-deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Jagmohan Singh said the decision was taken in the wake of farmer and labour organisations planning a rail blockade from September 24 to 26, besides giving a bandh call on September 25.
HARYANA SEALS ITS BORDERS
High-voltage drama was witnessed at the Shambhu barrier on the Amritsar-Delhi national highway, where activists of Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party were stopped in Ambala when they were headed for Delhi on motorcycles on Wednesday.
Protesting against the passage of farm bills, the party workers confronted with the police and faced water cannon for hours, refusing to step back.
In view of the protests, district magistrate Ashok Kumar Sharma imposed prohibitory orders to maintain law and order, while the police put up barricades refusing their entry into Haryana.
In the evening, activists, including Lok Insaf Party leader Simarjeet Singh Bains, tried to enter Haryana through the Ghagger river bed, but were again confronted by Ambala police who persuaded to go back.
Youth Congress workers faced water cannons at Samalkha near Panipat on Wednesday when police stopped them to take their tractor march to Delhi to protest the farm bills. The protest was led by Haryana Youth Congress state president Sachin Kundu and Congress’ Samalkha MLA Dharm Singh Chhokar.
This led to a blockade on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway but later traffic was diverted on link roads.