Thousands take to streets over farm Bills

September 26, 2020 12:00 am | Updated 05:34 am IST - Rajpura

They block rail, road traffic; accuse Centre of implementing ‘anti-farmer’ policies

Sea of protesters:Members of various farmers’ organisations took part in a protest at the Punjab-Haryana border near Ambala on Friday.PTI-

Sea of protesters:Members of various farmers’ organisations took part in a protest at the Punjab-Haryana border near Ambala on Friday.PTI-

Thousands of farmers took to the streets on Friday amid a call for a “Bharat bandh” given by a wide coalition of farmer outfits to protest against the three farm Bills recently passed by Parliament.

Farmers blocked rail and road traffic, held sit-ins at many places and shouted slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre, accusing it of implementing “anti-farmer” policies.

Much of the action was concentrated in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Normal life was hit in Punjab, where over 30 farmer outfits had given a call for a complete shutdown. Shops and commercial establishments remained shut in many parts.

Farmers blocked railway track at a few places in Amritsar, Ferozepur, Barna and Patiala, and announced that the “rail roko” agitation would be stepped up further across the State from September 26. They also announced stoppage of rail traffic indefinitely from October 1, if their demands were not met.

Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartaiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), said protests were held at over 150 places in Punjab. “Besides starting an indefinite rail roko agitation from October 1, a resolution will be passed by the gram sabha of each village to cancel the agriculture Bills and [Punjab] Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would be urged to convene a special session of the Assembly and pass a resolution not to implement the agricultural laws in Punjab,” he said.

BJP’s alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal, also staged protests across the State as part of its ‘chakka jam’ programme. The party asked Captain Amarinder Singh to call an immediate Cabinet meeting and pass an ordinance to declare the entire State as one ‘mandi’ (principal market yard) to ensure that the Central agricultural Bills are not enforceable in Punjab.

Peaceful protests

In neighbouring Haryana, peaceful demonstrations were held across the State, with Kurukshetra, Ambala and Yamuna Nagar bearing the maximum impact. Though commercial establishments and transport services remained unaffected, protesters sat on roads at several places, including highways, disrupting traffic. Besides Delhi-Hisar, Ambala-Kaithal and Jind-Patiala highways, farmers blocked internal roads in Kurukshetra, Sirsa, Ambala, Kaithal and Jind.

Farmers massed on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, squatting on NH-9 and disrupting traffic. Protests in Shahjahanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Bijnor, Saharanpur, Ghaziabad, Noida, Aligarh and Mathura led to long traffic jams across western Uttar Pradesh. Protests were also held in Rajasthan.

(With inputs from Ashok Kumar and Anuj Kumar)

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