Farmers express agitation against the three agriculture bills calling for a national shut down today. Farmers protest across UP, Punjab, Haryana, and parts of Hyderabad.
Several farmers organization including All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) organized massive protests. Despite PM’s assurances, farmers’ apprehensions drove these protests against the farm bills across the three states.
Former Union Minister and SAD Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal Leads Tractor March
Harsimrat Kaur and Sukhbir Singh Badal led farmers’ protest in Lambi from their residence in Badal village. Sukhbir Singh stated that Punjab CM must call an immediate meeting to pass an ordinance for not adopting these farm bills. Also, he announced that SAD would hold “Punjab Kisan March” on October 1 from Takht Damdama Sahib, Akal Takht Sahib, and Anandpur Sahib to Chandigarh. Also, Farmers blocked roads in Fatehabad and Rohtak districts of Haryana.
‘Bharat Bandh’ in Several Parts of Punjab
Around 31 farmers organizations came together, announcing a complete shutdown in Punjab. Other farmer unions conducted ‘rail roko’ protest in six different locations in the state with 1,000 to 1,500 farmers sitting on the tracks at each protest site. Several government employees’ unions, singers, commission agents, labourers, and social activists supported the protests. Shops, retail stores, and commercial establishments remain closed in significant parts of these states.
Protestors held blockades on roads leading to Patiala which obstructed the supply of essential supplies, including milk and poultry. Also, the Chandigarh-Bathinda highway was entirely blocked by farmers. Besides, dharnas were reported at Feroze Shah on the Moga-Ferozepur national highway, Golu ka Mor, Zira road bridge in Ferozepur city. Also, AAP workers were seen protesting at some locations.
Northern Railways Cancels Trains Owing to ‘Rail Roko’ Protest
The Northern Railways temporarily cancelled three trains and curtailed routes of 20 special trains. The decision was made after the announcement of a three-day rail roko protest by farmer unions. Railway officials stated that railway blockings have adversely affected the transportation of food grains and other essential goods. Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar confirmed cancelling the Ferozepur Railway division till September 26.
Besides, other cancelled trains include Haridwar-Amritsar Jan Shatabdi Express, New Delhi-Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express, Amritsar-Haridwar Jan Shatabdi Express. Other partial cancelled trains include Mumbai Central-Amritsar Golden Temple Express till Ambala Cantt, New Jalpaiguri-Amritsar Karm Bhumi Express till Ambala Cantt, Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Express till Ambala Cantt. Moreover, it has partially cancelled five special parcel trains.
The Congress MLA of Moga, Dr Harjot Kamal, conveys that agriculture is a state subject. However, the Union government passed the farm Bills without the consent of state governments. Claiming these bills as ‘black bills’ Sukhdev Singh Kokri, General Secretary of the BKU, said that the protestors would intensify the stir in the coming days.
Protest in Other Parts
Several farmers gathered at Noida Gate in Sector 14A near Chilla, at the UP-Delhi border to protest against these bills. Also, Maharashtra Congress President and State Minister Balasaheb Thorat announced that they would not implement these bills in Maharashtra. Moreover, farmers from the National South Indian River protested with skulls outside Collector’s office in Trichy. Farmers in Bihar also took to the streets to express their anger against the bills. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav drove a tractor and led a march in Patna. In a statement, he accused BJP of contradicting its statement of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Karnataka State Farmers’ Association protested near Bommanahalli on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu highway. On the other hand, Himachal Kisan Sabha held peaceful protests in Shimla demanding rollback of the farm bills. Also, TMC held protests against farm bills in front of Gandhi statue mayo road in Kolkata. Also, CPI, Forward Bloc, and RSP conducted rallies raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in West Bengal.
Both houses in the parliament have passed the bills. Now, the bill awaits the president’s assent.
PM Modi Urges People to Spread Correct Information
Citing the unrest, PM Modi has urged BJP workers to disseminate correct information to farmers at ground level. Besides, in a tweet, he asked people to watch a video of Narendra Singh Tomar, Agriculture Minister, explaining the farm bills. Attacking the Centre on this, Rahul Gandhi tweeted that these bills will enslave farmers. Besides, Priyanka Gandhi said that the legislation would force farmers to become slaves of companies through contract farming.
To sum up, farmers fear the discontinuance of MSP and the traditional market system and hence are demanding rollback of farm legislation.