Cutting across party lines, farmers protest in Punjab, Haryana
Chandigarh: Cutting across party lines, day long statewide protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana began on Friday morning against the Farm Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament.
Heavy police force has been deployed in both the states to deal with any untoward situation.
Even shopkeepers in most of the major towns in both the states shut their shops expressing solidarity with the farmers.
In a first-of-its-kind show of solidarity, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab announced a joint protest.
Several trains have been suspended since Thursday as farmers began a three-day ‘rail roko’ campaign against the Bills.
The Ferozepur Railway division decided to suspend operation of special trains till September 26 in view of the safety of passengers, a rail official told IANS.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to all political parties to rise above “petty considerations” and come on one platform to fight unitedly against the “treacherous” Bills that would destroy the state’s farmers.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union Government has stooped to a new low by bringing these Bills, and that too in a totally undemocratic and unparliamentary manner,” said Amarinder Singh, adding that his government, supported by the Congress state unit, will oppose the Legislations tooth and nail in the interest of not just the farmers and the state but the entire country.
He has appealed to the farmers to strictly maintain law and order, and adhere to all Covid-19 safety protocols.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP-led NDA government, announced a statewide ‘chakka jam’ to mark their protest.
The SAD has been a longstanding ally of the ruling BJP. SAD’s Lok Sabha MP and Sukhbir Badal’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet on September 17, citing her party’s opposition to the three Bills.
Interestingly, many Punjabi singers have extended their support to the ‘bandh’ call given by farmers.
Popular Punjabi singer and actor Harbhajan Mann in a tweet said he along with several other artists would be participating in the protest.
In Haryana, activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union activists along with sacked physical training instructors showed black flags to Agriculture Minister J.P. Dalal on Thursday in Mudlana village in Sonepat district.
Terming the Farm Bills as a ‘revolutionary step’, Haryana BJP state chief O.P. Dhankar said these would open up multiple options for farmers to sell their produce.