Farmers continue ‘Rail Roko’ agitation against farm Bills at various places in Punjab  

The ‘Rail Roko’ agitation had started on Thursday, forcing the railway authorities to suspend the operation of 14 pairs of special passenger trains in the state

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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Bipin Bhardwaj

Scores of farmers continued their 'Rail Roko' agitation at several places across Punjab in protest against the farm bills passed by Parliament recently. The movement of trains in the state also continued to remain suspended in the wake of the agitation.

The call for the 'Rail Roko' agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and later, different farmers' outfits extended their support to it. Squatting on rails tracks, agitating farmers on Saturday shouted slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre and demanded the rollback of the farm bills which they described as ‘black laws’.

To express their anger against the bills, a group of farmers went shirtless while protesting in Amritsar. They also staged a dharna on the Amritsar-Delhi railway line and raised slogans against the Union government. Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said that farmers had taken off their 'kurtas' and shirts to make the government hear their voice. The Sangharsh Committee also announced extending its three-day 'Rail Roko' agitation till September 29.

The 'Rail Roko' agitation had started on Thursday, forcing the railway authorities to suspend the operation of 14 pairs of special passenger trains in the state. Farmers under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) blocked rail tracks in nine districts.

Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary, said the rail tracks were blocked at Mansa, Barnala, Nabha (Patiala), Chhahjli (Sangrur), Rampura (Bathinda), Ajitwal (Moga), Kotkapura (Faridkot), Gidderbaha (Muktsar) and Jalalabad (Fazilka). He said elders, women, youth and children also participated in the protests. Farmers would force the government with a series of protests and agitations to withdraw the farm bills, he said, adding that these would only benefit big corporates. Farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm reforms would pave the way for the dismantling of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and they would be at the "mercy" of big corporates.

The farmers said they would continue their fight till the farm bills were revoked. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed by the Parliament earlier this week.

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