Farmers stage protests against Centre’s agri-ordinances in Punjab

Several demonstrators marching from Haryana towards New Delhi stopped at State border

September 14, 2020 07:42 pm | Updated 08:08 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Farmers block the Amritsar-Delhi national highway during a protest against the central government, at Beas in Amritsar, Sept. 14, 2020. The protest was held to demand a rollback in three agriculture ordinances of the central government and against the new Electricity Bill 2020.

Farmers block the Amritsar-Delhi national highway during a protest against the central government, at Beas in Amritsar, Sept. 14, 2020. The protest was held to demand a rollback in three agriculture ordinances of the central government and against the new Electricity Bill 2020.

Members of close to a dozen farmer outfits on Monday held demonstrations in Punjab to register their anguish against the Centre’s agriculture-related ordinances, demanding their immediate withdrawal.

Several farmers, who were marching from Haryana towards New Delhi to participate in a protest called by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) were allegedly stopped at the State border.

Demonstrations were held in Amritsar, Moga, Barnala, Patiala and Phagwara under the banner of the All India Kissan Sangharsh Coordination Committee — an umbrella body of over 250 farmer and farm-worker organisations.

The farmers were seen raising slogans and demanding immediate withdrawal of all the three ordinances — The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

Rattan Mann, president of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait), said the farmers were on their way to participate in the demonstration that was being held at the ‘Jantar Mantar’ but were stopped by the Delhi police. “We were stopped at the Kundli border. We want the government to understand that these ordinances will not benefit the farming community. A legislation must be brought securing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all crops including fruits and vegetables,” said Mr. Mann.

“Farmers all over India are opposing them. The government is trying to present them as a big step towards agricultural reforms in the form of “One Nation, One Market” but actually they will result in ‘company rule’ in the agricultural sector. Some State governments are also demanding their withdrawal believing it to be a violation of the federal structure,” he said.

The outfits that protested in Punjab included Krantikari Kisan Union, Bharti Kissan Union, Ekta (Dakaunda), Punjab Kisan Union, Kirti Kisan Union, Jamhoori Kissan Sabha, All India Kisan Sabha (Punjab), Kisan Sangharsh Committee Punjab, All India Kissan Sabha (Ajai-Bhawan), Azaad Kissan Sangharsh Committee and Jai Kissan Andolan. The Punjab unit of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti also staged protests.

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