Rail and road traffic hit as farmers protest new bills
September 26 2020 12:36 AM
Farmers gesture
Farmers gesture as they block a national highway during a protest against farm bills passed by parliament, in Shambhu, Punjab, yesterday.

IANS/New Delhi

Rail stoppages in Punjab, blockades in Haryana, agitations in Maharashtra and scattered protests in Uttar Pradesh — the country saw farmers question the recently passed three agricultural bills that they perceive as ‘anti-farmer’ which the central government insists are in the farmer’s interest.
In the bread basket states of Punjab and Haryana emotions ran high.
Cutting across party lines, the day-long statewide protests by farmers evoked a huge response and normal life was disrupted. Chandigarh, though, was near-normal.
Activists of several farmer associations were seen asking traders at many places in the Congress-ruled Punjab to keep their shops and business establishments shut.
Reports of shutdown of shops and other establishments were received from Punjab’s Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places.
Northern Railways cancelled three trains and curtailed the routes of 20 special trains, officials said yesterday.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, still technically an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre, has demanded that the whole of Punjab be declared a ‘principal market yard’ for agricultural produce to ensure that laws based on the three passed agricultural Bills do not apply in the state.
As the day progressed, thousands of farmers joined protests across Maharashtra too.
The agitation has been supported by the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Kisan Sabha, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, major farmers’ organisations, various national and state level trade unions and student unions.
Spearheaded by AIKS president Ashok Dhawale from Palghar, in Mumbai, the protests were led by Sunil Kharpat in Thane, Subhash Dake in Beed, by Govind Ardad in Jalna, Sudam Thakre in Nandurbar and Arjun Ade in Nanded.
In Kolhapur, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana president Raju Shetti urged farmers in the state and all over the country to protest the laws with full vigour, and led an agitation in which a bonfire was made of the copies of the law.
“These laws are detrimental to the very survival of the farming community. The government has pushed through these laws undemocratically and it was a black day when it was passed in Parliament. We will not tolerate the injustice meted out to farmers,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh also saw farmers blocking the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway for a few hours yesterday.
Protesters also burnt stubble in the middle of the road and shouted slogans against the Centre, demanding withdrawal of the bills.
Farmers blocked the Delhi-Meerut highway near Ghaziabad to protest the legislations. Farmers from the Lakhimpur Kheri district also gathered in protest.
Protests have also been reported from many districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Pilibhit, Sambhal, Ghaziabad, Sitapur, Baghpat and Barabanki.
RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav turned it into a political event in poll-bound Bihar.
A procession of around 50 tractors followed the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, with his party supporters shouting slogans against the NDA government over the Bills.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) farmers wing ‘Sara Bharat Krishak Sabha’ and Trinamool-backed Kisan Khet Mazdoor cell activists took out rallies, held sit-in demonstrations and set the farm bills on fire in Kolkata.

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