Farmers begin protest in Punjab, Haryana in India over contentious farm bills

Sep 25, 2020, Economic Times

As many as 31 farmer organisations, under aegis of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) have joined hands for the complete shutdown of Punjab.

(AFP photo)

Chandigarh: Farmers on Friday began their protest as part of the ‘Punjab Bandh’ call against the contentious farm bills that were recently passed in the Parliament.

As many as 31 farmer organisations, under ageis of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) have joined hands for the complete shutdown of Punjab.

Among farmers’ unions which are supporting the bandh call included Bharti Kisan Union Krantikari, Kirti Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and BKU (Lakhowal).

Several organisations in Haryana, including the BKU, have also extended support to the nationwide strike called by some farmers’ bodies against the bills.

Police personnel in adequate strength were deployed across the state to maintain law and order, officials said.

While the ruling Congress and the AAP have extended support to the farmers’ protest, the Shiromani Akali Dal has announced to hold road blockades.
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Farmers at several places in the state started gathering at roads for stopping the movement of traffic.

Women protesters under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee in Amritsar took out a protest march.

Shops and commercial establishments at many places in Punjab remained shut on Friday morning in the wake of farmers’ stir.

Shopkeepers had been appealed to keep their shops shut in support of farmers.

Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said farmers would hold protests at over 150 places across the state adding that they were getting support from traders, transporters and taxi operators among others.

The Punjab Bandh call is getting support from government employees’ unions, singers, commission agents, labourers and social activists.

Farmers on Thursday had started a three-day rail blockade against the bills and squatted on tracks at many places in the state.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said on Thursday the state government was fully with the farmers in their fight against the bills and no FIRs would be registered for violation of Section 144, which bars assembly of more than four people.

The protesters have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm reforms would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system and they would be at the “mercy” of big corporates. The farmers said they would continue their fight till the three farm bills were revoked.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament earlier this week.

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