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Stir to intensify as farm groups come together

September 25, 2020 06:40 AM


Stir to intensify as farm groups come together
Bharat Bandh by farm organisations, Oppn today; Rlys suspends 20 trains passing through Punjab

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh/Karnal/Lucknow : Farmers’ protests in the northern Indian food bowl regions of western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab may intensify on Friday, when farmers groups and opposition parties organise a national strike, Bharat Bandh, against three farm bills passed by Parliament.

All farmers groups in the region have come together against Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 , passed by Parliament during the curtailed monsoon session that ended on Wednesday.

A three-day rail blockade is being organised in Punjab to protest against the bills.

Railway authorities said 20 trains passing through Punjab will remain suspended between Thursday and Saturday, as the state-owned transporter seeks to ensure the safety of passengers and protect its property. Many freight and parcel trains too have been rescheduled

In Punjab, where the protests against the bills started more than a month ago, at least 31 farmers bodies have drawn up a joint plan. “We have informed all market associations that they should close the shops,” said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, an office-bearer of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of farmers groups.

Farmers bodies have divided Punjab into different zones where the activists will stage day-long sit-in protests and prevent any movement of traffic.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre, has also decided to organise parallel protests as part of a “chakka jam” (road blockage) campaign.

In Haryana, major farmers groups will stage protests and block road and railway traffic on Friday. They have issued a call for the closure of all markets, including agricultural produce mandis, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Haryana president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait faction) Ratan Mann said: “The farmers and commission agents will be on roads against the bills on Friday”. He added that shopkeepers, trade unions and employee unions have been asked to join the protests.

“We will ensure that the protests remain peaceful and movement of traffic on the important roads like NH 44 will not get affected,” said Karnal deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav.

Farmers’ leader Naresh Tikait said cultivators in western UP on Friday would “aggressively” participate in the Bharat Bandh and will block the movement of traffic in their strongholds. UP police have deployed additional security personnel in the western part of the state to maintain law and order, officials said.

BS Rajewal, president of another faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said 185 farmers organisations including those from Rajasthan, Himachal, Telangana, Maharasthra, Madhaya Pradesh and Andhra Pradeseh have agreed to join the protests.

Farmers organisations, backed by the Left parties and the Congress, have called for protests across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Friday. In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi is supporting the protests.In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the ruling YSR Congress Party and opposition Telugu Desam Party have both supported the farm bills.

In Maharashtra, many farmers’ organisations have decided to participate in Bharat Bandh.


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