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Farmers block roads, railway tracks during 'Bharat bandh'

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
Last updated on: September 26, 2020 01:21 IST
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Farmers shouted slogans and blocked roads in several parts of the country Friday, protesting against the three agri-marketing bills passed recently by Parliament.

 

IMAGE: Farmers on tractors shout slogans as they arrive to block the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during a protest against farm bills in Noida. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

The most widespread protests were in Punjab and Haryana, but demonstrations were also reported from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka as part of the 'Bharat bandh' call given by several farmer unions.

Over 30 organisations had given a separate 'Punjab bandh' call, leading to farmers blocking roads and traders shutting shops and vegetable markets for the day. The bandh in the state appeared to be near total.

Hundreds of farmers -- on foot, two-wheelers and tractor-trolleys -- were stopped at Delhi's border with Uttar Pradesh as they tried to press ahead into the national capital, their agitation disrupting traffic in Noida and Ghaziabad.

IMAGE: Farmers sit on a road as they block a national highway during a protest against farm bills passed by Parliament, in Shambhu in Punjab. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Stopped from entering the city, the farmers staged 'panchayats' at the road blockades where they were addressed by Bhartiya Kisan Union office-bearers.

Addressing Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and workers on the birth anniversary of party's ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi again made a pitch for the new laws meant to deregulate the sale of farm produce.

But farmer unions and opposition parties say they will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

IMAGE: Farmers block a railway track as they participate in Rail Roko Andolan during a protest against the farm bills passed in both the Houses of Parliament recently, at village Devi Dass Pura near Amritsar. Photograph: PTI Photo

In West Bengal, farmer bodies loyal to the Left parties staged protests.

Communist Party of India-Marxist farmers' wing 'Sara Bharat Krishak Sabha' and those of other left partners such as Communist Party of India, Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party took out rallies in Hooghly, Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Bankura and Nadia.

In Karnataka, there were demonstrations across the state and many farmers arrived in capital Bengaluru to take part in protests against amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act and the Karnataka Land Reforms Act.

Farmers under the umbrella of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) staged protests in Kerala, including outside the Raj Bhavan in capital Thiruvananthapuram.

IMAGE: Supporters of TMC stand around agricultural products arranged in a formation of a map of India as part of protests against farm bills in Kolkata. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

In Punjab's Barnala, a tractor was set on fire by protesters.

Punjab farmers blocked the Sangrur-Patiala, Chandigarh-Bathinda and Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana and Moga-Ferozepur roads, triggering traffic diversions and hardship to commuters.

Buses run by the state-owned Pepsu Road Transport also went off the roads in Punjab.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal drove a tractor while his wife and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal sat beside him in Muktsar district.

SEE: RJD's Tejashwi Yadav drives a tractor in protest against farm bills

He led a tractor march from his Badal village to Lambi, where the party had organised a protest against the bills.

At several other places, party workers blocked roads.

Prominent Punjabi singers like Harbhajan Mann and Ranjit Bawa took part in a farmers' protest in Nabha.

A three-day 'rail roko' that began Thursday is also underway in Punjab, with farmers squatting on the tracks at many places in Punjab and the railways suspending many trains.

IMAGE: RJD activists during 'Bharat Bandh', a protest against the farm bills passed in Parliament recently, in Patna. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee on Friday announced its extension by another three days.

Buses run by state owned Pepsu Road Transport Corporation also remained off the roads on Friday.

In neighbouring Haryana, farmers blocked the Karnal-Meerut, Rohtak-Jhajjar and Delhi-Hisar and other roads.

Apart from Noida and Ghaziabad which border New Delhi, there were scattered farmer protests in western Uttar Pradesh and in districts like Deoria, Kushinagar and Maharajganj districts.

IMAGE: A shop is locked during 'Bharat Bandh', a protest against the farm bills passed in Parliament recently, in Kurali. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Samajwadi Party said its workers held protests in all UP districts, submitting memorandums addressed to the Governor to the district magistrates.

The Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, now await presidential assent.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2020 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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