Other States

Highways blocked as farmers’ protests continue in Haryana, Punjab

Members of various farmers' organizations burn an effigy during a protest over agriculture related ordinances, in Amritsar, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Stepping up their protests against the Centre’s agriculture sector Bills, farmers’ organisations blocked roads in Haryana and burned copies of the Bills in Punjab on Sunday, accusing the BJP-led government of playing into the hands of big corporates and compromising farmers’ interests.

In Haryana, several roads including national and State highways were blocked by agitating farmers from noon till 3 p.m. Protesters also blocked roads in almost all the districts and staged sit-ins at crucial junctions.

The blockades, however, were peaceful and no untoward incident was reported. Protesters shouted slogans against the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the State.

The Hindu Explains | Why are the Agriculture Bills being opposed?

Support from youth

The protests were led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) to which as many as 17 farmer groups had extended support. Speaking to The Hindu, BKU Harayana chief Gurnam Singh Charuni said, “For the first time the youth have come out in large numbers to take part in the protest. Even the common people were part of it.”

“We want government to withdraw the legislations and come out with a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price to the farmers, to waive-off all taxes imposed under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) on farmers and commission agents in line with the new bills and to write-off ₹7 lakh crore farmers' loan. When the government can write-off ₹15 lakh crore corporate loan, why can’t they waive-off farmers debt which is less than half of it? Thousands of farmers committed suicide last year; does the government want more farmers to die this year,” Mr Charuni said.

Inderjit Singh, a farmer leader associated with All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-Ordination Committee condemned the passing of Bills in Rajya Sabha. “It will be remembered as a black day in history of Parliament,” he said.

Peaceful protests

Additional Director-General of Police, (Law and Order) Navdeep Virk said there were reports of blockades at several places, but it was “absolutely” peaceful. “Not a single incident of violence reported so far. Mostly the State highways and the internal roads were blocked, but in some cases the national highways were also affected,” he said.

The Punjab Youth Congress kicked-off a “tractor rally” from Punjab to Delhi against the three farm sector Bills. The rally which began from Punjab’s Zirakpur was, however, stopped at the Haryana border in Ambala. Police later resorted to use of water canons to disperse the agitating Youth Congress workers who attempted to break through the barricades.

Copies of bills burnt

In Punjab, farmers associated with around 30 groups burnt copies of the bills and effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We strongly oppose these bills, and to show our anguish we burned copies of bills. The BJP is playing into the hands of big corporates and has compromised farmers’ interests. Besides, the way these bills were passed in Rajya Sabha, it was undemocratic. We will continue our struggle. We call all democratic secular people to join hand against this anti-people and anti-farmer government of the BJP,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartaiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) in Punjab.

“On September 25, we will hold Bharat bandh to register our protest against the Bills,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 7:23:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farmers-protest-against-farm-bills-in-haryana/article32652781.ece

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