Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 25
Punjab farmers on Friday took to the streets and held protests at 125 sites against the three farm Bills cleared by Parliament, which they dubbed as “black laws”. They blocked roads, including highways, to press the Centre for the withdrawal of the legislations, which are yet to get the President’s approval.
With the farmers squatting on rail tracks, the supply of essential commodities was hit. Shops, commercial establishments and vegetable markets remained shut at several places.
At least 31 farm organisations from Punjab, including the Bharti Kisan Union Krantikari, Kirti Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and BKU (Lakhowal), participated in the nationwide bandh. The Malwa belt comprising Bathinda, Patiala, Ludhiana, Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Barnala, Faridkot, Muktsar and Mansa areas saw thousands of farmers taking part in the dharnas. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress held parallel protests at various places.
The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee announced that the ‘rail roko’ stir against the farm Bills had been extended till September 29.
Bhagwant Mann, Punjab AAP chief and Sangrur MP, joined the protesters at Bhawanigarh. “I am here as a farmer. People have begun to raise their voice. It’s a good sign for democracy,” he said. Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala sat on a dharna at Mansa. He was accompanied by another singer Amrit Mann.
Folk singers Harbhajan Mann, Tarsem Jassar, Ranjit Bawa, Kulwinder Billa and Harjit Harman also sat on a dharna. “The government should have consulted the farmers on the Bills,” argued Bawa. There was a tussle at the Shambhu barrier between a group of radicals and Youth Congress workers who were led by Nirbhay Singh Milti. In Jalandhar, former Akali MLA Sarabjit Makkar had to leave the protest site when a group of farmers pointed out that his party leadership had initially backed the contentious Bills.
Will benefit marginal farmers
For the first time in decades, the Centre has framed laws that will benefit small, marginal farmers and workers… but the Opposition is misleading them. — Narendra Modi, Prime Minister
They have no faith in govt
A flawed GST destroyed MSMEs. The new agriculture laws will enslave farmers. One thing is clear after talking to farmers — they do not have even an iota of faith in the Modi government. — Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader