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Farmers block highways, roads during 3-hour chakka jam

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: February 06, 2021 21:44 IST
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Protesters on Saturday blocked several key roads in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, while scattered demonstrations were held in several other states during a three-hour 'chakka jam' called by the farmer unions agitating against the Centre's new farm laws. 

IMAGE: Farmers at KMP Expressway during their 'chakka jam' protest as part of the ongoing agitation over new farm laws near New Delhi. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait declared that their protest on Delhi's outskirts will continue till October 2 and an effort will be made to "connect every village" with the agitation.

Nearly 50 protesters were detained at Shaheedi Park in the national capital, amid stepped-up security by authorities which suspended internet at the protest sites of Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri as well as adjoining areas for 24 hours till Saturday night and closed entry and exit facilities at 10 prominent Delhi Metro stations for few hours.

 

Scores of other protesters were also held briefly by police as they stalled traffic on roads in parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws, had said on Friday that the peasants across the country will block national and state highways for three hours between 12 noon and 3 PM, barring in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 

IMAGE: Farmers raise slogans as they block a highway during three-hour nationwide 'chakka jam' blockade of national and state highways at Golden Gate in Amritsar. Photograph: PTI Photo

Tikait claimed inputs had been received regarding some “miscreants trying to disrupt peace” during the “chakka jam”.

“Because of these inputs, we had decided to call off the ‘chakka jam' in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” the 51-year-old Bharatiya Kisan Union leader, credited with reviving the farmers' stir, said.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere during Saturday's protest. 

IMAGE: Farmers block a highway during three-hour nationwide "chakka jam" blockade of national and state highways in support of their agitation against Centre's farm reform laws in Palwal district. Photograph: PTI Photo

Raising slogans against the Centre, many farmers parked their tractor-trailers or squatted in the middle of roads in Punjab and Haryana, blocking several highways, including the Chandigarh-Zirakpur, Amritsar-Pathankot, Tarn Taran-Kapurthala, Ferozepur-Fazilka, Muktsar-Kotkapura, Bathinda-Chandigarh, Ludhiana-Jalandhar, Panchkula-Pinjore and Ambala – Chandigarh highway

Rustic farmer songs blared from speakers and people perched atop truck-tractors hoisted the tricolour on the KMP Expressway.

Biscuits and fruits were distributed to the protesting farmers sitting on the road. Those coming to the stretch with their vehicles were politely informed about the protest and requested to turn back. 

IMAGE: Buses stand parked at a terminal during the 'chakka jam' protest in Bathinda. Photograph: PTI Photo

"We don't want to create any inconvenience for the people. That is precisely the reason why the call given was for three hours only. Security forces have been blocking -- our and their passage -- for so many days, we expect the 'aam aadmi' to co-operate with us for some hours at least," said Ajit Ahluwalia (29) , from Haryana's Hisar.

Authorities in the national capital and elsewhere had intensified vigil on Saturday in the light of the violence during the farmers' tractor parade on January 26 in Delhi. 

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IMAGE: Farmers block a road during their 'chakka jam' protest in Bathinda. Photograph: PTI Photo

In Rajasthan, farmers at many places including Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Dholpur and Jhalawar stalled traffic on the highways and main roads and held demonstrations, police said.

The Congress and Left parties too held protests in some states in support of the 'chakka jam' called by the agitating farmer unions.

'Rasta roko' protests were staged in Karad and Kolhapur cities in Maharashtra. 

IMAGE: Jan Adhikar Party workers block NH-30  during the nationwide 'chakka jam' to support the ongoing agitation against Centre's farm reform laws in Patna. Photograph: PTI Photo

At least 40 protesters, including senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan's wife Satvasheela Chavan, were detained for holding a protest on a busy road at Kolhapur Naka in Karad in western Maharashtra this afternoon, a police official said.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna leader Raju Shetti and others were detained briefly in Kolhapur. 

IMAGE: Tight security arrangements at Tikri border during farmers' protest against the Centre's new farm laws in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

In Telangana, police said several people were taken into preventive custody as leaders of opposition parties joined the farmers in 'Raasta Roko' protests on various.

Farmers blocked highways in different parts of Karnataka to show their solidarity, following a call given by various farmers' associations led by Kuruburu Shanthakumar. A few pro-Kannada organisations too came in support of the agitators. 

IMAGE: Farmers block Shambhu Highway during their 'chakka jam' protest in Patiala. Photograph: PTI Photo

The demonstrations were held in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kolar, Koppal, Bagalkote, Tumakuru Davangere, Hassan, Mangaluru, Haveri, Shivamogga and Chikkaballapura and protesters courted arrest in some parts of the state.

Condemning the protests, Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilisers D V Sadananda Gowda said the Narendra Modi government has implemented the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report to address the agrarian distress and farmers' suicide. 

IMAGE: Activists of various trade unions protest during the proposed chakka jam by farmers unions in solidarity with their ongoing agitation against Centres farm reform laws and privatisation of Vizag steel plant in Visakhapatnam. Photograph: PTI Photo

Protests were also held in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.

This is part of the pan India stir "for seeking justice for farmers. This is not for political purposes or to inconvenience the general public," President, coordination committee of Tamil Nadu All Farmers' Association, P R Pandian told reporters.

IMAGE: : Security personnel stand guard near Red Fort during the nationwide 'chakka jam in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

 Ahead of the nationwide 'chakka jam' called by the farmer unions protesting the Centre's new agri laws, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the peaceful 'satyagraha' of the 'annadatas' is in national interest as the farm laws are "harmful" for the country.

Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the government over the farmers issue by posting on Twitter a picture of the multi-layered barricading at one of the farmer protest sites. 

IMAGE: Lal Quila metro station closed in view of the nationwide 'chakka jam' in support of ongoing agitation against Centre's farm reform laws in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

"Why are you scaring us with the wall of fear?" she tweeted along with the picture.

The Congress had on Friday extended support to the countrywide 'chakka jam', saying party workers will stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers in their protest. 

IMAGE: Heavy traffic jam on the expressway at Gurugram-Delhi border due to farmers' 'chakka jam' protest against new farm laws in Gurugram. Photograph: PTI Photo

Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh demanding the rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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