As farmers continue their protest against the three new agriculture laws, various sections of society — government employees, lawyers, social workers, students, political parties — have been extending support to the farmers’ cause.
In Sangrur town, every evening a group of people, both young and old, take out a protest march from Bhagat Namdev Chowk to the Deputy Commissioner’s office. They say it will continue until the Centre accedes to the farmers’ demands.
“We have started the protest in solidarity with farmers. Government employees, students, social workers and others gather here at the Bhagat Namdev chowk and march towards the Deputy Commissioner’s office,” Zora Singh, a retired State government employee, told The Hindu .
“We are supporting the struggle of farmers aimed to revoke the three farm laws. It’s our duty that we should come forward in support of farmers, who feed the nation. We will continue to stage protest march every single day till the time the demands of farming community is not fulfilled.”
Hundreds of insurance employees under the banner of the Northern Zone Insurance Employees’ Association, on Friday held a protest in Chandigarh to condemn the manner in which the Centre and the Haryana government allegedly tried to suppress the struggle of the farmers.
“The Central government should accede to the demands of the protesting farmers for safeguarding Indian agriculture, our food security, to prevent artificial food shortages and rise in prices of essential commodities,” said Rajeev Sehgal, divisional president of the association.
The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has also come forward to support farmers. Karanjit Singh, chairman of the council, on Sunday said the new agriculture Acts passed by the Central government were detrimental not only to the interests of farmers but also to the interest of lawyers.
Mr. Singh said under the new Acts the disputes will be heard by the sub-divisional magistrates or the additional district magistrates who were not trained to hear the litigation involving civil consequences. “The disputes arising out of new enactments will involve commercial matters, Contract Act agreement and partnership matters which is under the preview of civil courts and therefore, barring the civil court jurisdiction is detrimental to the interest of lawyers and is an effort to undermine the judiciary. Therefore, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana requests the Union government to immediately withdraw these new Agriculture Acts,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Singh said the council also supported the call of ‘Bharat Bandh’ given by the farmers on December 8, and requested advocates from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to abstain from work.
Political parties have also extended support to the bandh call. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal appealed to party workers to give whole hearted support to the protest. He said SAD would work side by side with the peasantry to ensure repeal of the anti-farmer agricultural laws.
“I am confident that the mass agitation will force the Centre to bow down before the demands of the farmers,” he said. Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab president and Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann said the party would fully support the bandh, saying the issue is not specific to any political party, religion or community. This is an issue of the nation and its farmers, he said.
Dal Khalsa stand
Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa has also appealed to the people to observe a complete shutdown. Party head Harpal Singh Cheema urged the people, including traders, shopkeepers, industrialists and business community, to join the shutdown call and deliver a stern message to the Union government.