Protests over farm bills across West Bengal, highways blocked

Despite bad weather, political leaders and farmers’ groups take to the streets

September 26, 2020 12:30 am | Updated 12:30 am IST - Kolkata

Raising their voice:  Farmers’ wing of Trinamool Congress protesting at Esplanade on Friday.

Raising their voice: Farmers’ wing of Trinamool Congress protesting at Esplanade on Friday.

Workers and leaders cutting across political parties held protests all across West Bengal on Friday along with various farmers association over the two agriculture Bills passed in the recently-concluded monsoon session by Parliament.

The farmers’ wing of the Trinamool Congress held a protest near Gandhi Statue on Esplanade by dislaying farm produce. Senior Trinamool Congress leaders including Tapas Roy and head of party’s farmers’ wing Bechram Manna were present at the protest venue and promised the farmers that the State government would protect the interest of farmers. This was the third day of protests by the Trinamool Congress over the passage of the farm Bills.

According to the State unit of All India Kishan Mahasabha, protests were held across 200 places in West Bengal, where farmers blocked national and State highways. Protestors blocked the National Highway at Debra and Chandrakona in Paschim Medinipur, Karjorain Paschim Bardhaman, Gazole in Malda and Tufanganj in Cooch Behar districts respectively.

Protesters also blocked the State Highway in Bankura and Murshidabad district. The blockade on the major arterial roads lasted from 11 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“The protest in West Bengal witnessed spontaneous protests by a large number of farmers. Despite inclement weather and rains the National and State highways were blocked at several places,” Amal Halder, secretary of West Bengal unit of All India Krishak Sabha, the peasant wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist) told The Hindu . Mr. Halder said nearly two lakh farmers and agricultural workers participated in the protests.

The Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS), an organisation of agricultural workers who have supported the farmers strike, also held protests in South 24 Parganas. “The interest of agricultural workers is intertwined with farmers. Along with this for farm labourers it is also a question of food security,” said Anuradha Talwar of PBKMS.

Later in the evening leaders of the Congress and Left parties held a joint rally in the city in which hundreds of people joined in. The protest rally began at Esplanade and concluded at Shyambzar. Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Abdul Mannan and Left Front chairperson Biman Bose were among the leaders who marched along the 5km stretch.

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