September 25, 2020

Massive farmer protests in Punjab,Haryana: roads,rail tracks blocked

New Delhi: Farmers’ unions across several states, including, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are taking part in a “Bharat Bandh” today to protest the farm bills cleared by Parliament last week amid pandemonium inside and fierce agitations outside. The protesting farmers have warned the government that their agitations will intensify unless the bills are repealed. Amid increased security in several states, the farmers have been supported by several opposition parties, including the Congress, the DMK, the AAP, the RJD and the Trinamool Congress, and at least 10 central trade unions. The government says the bills – passed amid what the opposition called “murder of democracy” – will help farmers get better prices for their produce by allowing them to sell at markets and prices of their choosing. Farmers, however, fear the loss of the price support system (MSP) and the entry of private players.
In poll-bound Bihar, opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav took part in a tractor rally to protest the farm bills. In visuals shared by news agency ANI, the RJD chief can be seen slowly driving a blue tractor down a main road in Patna as a large crowd of farmers, marshalled by armed policemen, march alongside. The visuals show at least four or five other tractors behind Mr Yadav as the entire chain inches its way forward.
A “complete shutdown” of Punjab has been called for by the 31 farmers’ groups protesting in the state under the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner. Additional police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order, officials said.Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Congress-led state government supported the farmers and no FIRs would be registered for violation of prohibitory orders.The Punjab-Haryana border has been sealed near Ambala – a key border crossing between the two states. Police barricades have also been set up at the NH-1 toll plaza at the Ladowal Toll Plaza in Ludhiana and police in Chandigarh are on high alert. Farmers groups have also begun protesting along the Faridkot-Kotkapura highway.
On Thursday farmers in Punjab started a three-day rail blockade and squatted on tracks at several places in the state, including Amritsar and Firozpur districts. The protests In Uttar Pradesh, escalating protests against the bills have led to the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway being blocked. Farmers have also blocked the Delhi-Meerut highway near Ghaziabad to protest against the bills. Farmers from the state’s Kheri district have also gathered in protest.by farmers’ groups include a march by women members of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.Police have been deployed in the Chilla area near the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, amid concerns that the farmers will march into the national capital to continue their protests.Parts of the Delhi-Amritsar highway have reportedly been blocked and the Delhi-Haryana border is also likely to be sealed, with police in the national capital on high alert.In the south, members of the Karnataka State Farmers’ Association held a protest near Bommanahalli on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu highway. Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi both tweeted against the farm bills today. Mrs Gandhi Vadra said: “They (the farmers) will be forced to become slaves of trillions through contract farming.” Mr Gandhi simply said: “… The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers”.

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