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In Punjab, 3-day ‘rail roko’ against farm Bills begins

Farmers in Punjab have expressed apprehension on the farm bills. A farm labourer harvests paddy in a field in Ropar district of Punjab, on Sept. 22, 2020.

Farmers in Punjab have expressed apprehension on the farm bills. A farm labourer harvests paddy in a field in Ropar district of Punjab, on Sept. 22, 2020.

Several farmers in parts of Punjab on Thursday started a three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti against the Union government’s three agriculture sector Bills .

The railways suspended several trains completely or partially till September 26 for the safety of passengers and protection of railway property.

Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), who had extended support to the agitation, blocked railway track in Sangrur and Barnala, while members of the Samiti blocked the track in Amritsar and Ferozpur.

“We have blocked the railway track at Devidaspura in Amritsar and Basti Tanka wala in Ferozepur. The ‘rail roko’ will continue till September 26 in the first phase. And if our demands are not met with, we will intensify the agitation. We will also support the ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC),” said Sarvan Singh Pandher, State president of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti.

“While we appeal to people across the country to support our cause, we have decided that representatives of political parties will not be allowed to share the stage in our agitation. Other farmers’ unions have also extended support to our agitation,” he stated.

‘Ill-conceived move’

Terming the Bills an ill-conceived move on the Centre’s part, Mr. Singh observed that the new legislations were completely anti-farmer and their implementation would ultimately lead to farmers’ exploitation at the hands of big corporate houses. “It will also lead to the end of the Minimum Support Price regime,” he added.

As protests against the Bills continue, 31 farmers’ outfits based in Punjab have given a call for a complete shutdown across the State on September 25. Over 250 farmer and farm-worker organisations, under the umbrella of the AIKSCC, had given a call for ‘Bharat bandh’ the same day.

Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartaiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), said all the 31 farmer outfits have decided to to stop railway traffic indefinitely from October 1, if their demands were not fulfilled.

“Also, we will socially boycott - MPs and MLAs, who are in favour of the farm Bills. Besides, a resolution will be passed by the gram sabha of each village to cancel the Bills and Chief Minister Capy. Amarinder Singh would be urged to convene a special session of the Assembly and pass a resolution not to implement agricultural laws in Punjab,” he said.

Authorities at the Ferozepur Railway division said the operation of 14 pairs of special trains would remain completely or partially suspended till September 26.

Political support to stir

The ruling Congress has also extended its support to the shutdown and appealed to people to make it successful.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had announced that to get the agricultural Bills reversed, the party will hold a state-wide ‘chakka-jam’ (road blockade) on September 25. The party will observe a three-hour programme from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 12:30:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rail-roko-agitation-starts-in-punjab-train-services-suspended/article61702980.ece