Farmers' protest: Tractor rallies in Punjab, Haryana, UP in protest against WTO

Farmer leaders claim the WTO's objective is to end farm subsidies and if India follows it, that will be "suicidal"

Protesting farmers in Amritsar (photo: PTI)
Protesting farmers in Amritsar (photo: PTI)


Farmers took out tractor rallies at several places in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and burnt effigies, demanding the agriculture sector be taken out of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) agreement.

In Uttar Pradesh, the rallies led to disruption of traffic at many places and farmers also burnt effigies representing the WTO, which is holding its 13th ministerial conference, a meeting of its highest decision-making body, in the UAE.

On the call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of several farm unions that spearheaded the 2020-21 farmers' stir, protesters parked their tractors along the highways at many places in Punjab and Haryana.

Effigies representing the WTO were also burnt at Khanauri and Shambhu points on Punjab's border with Haryana, where thousands of farmers have been camping after their march to Delhi, led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), was halted by security forces.

Farmer leaders claimed the WTO's objective was to end farm subsidies and if India followed it, that would be "suicidal".

In western Uttar Pradesh, farmers took out tractors and burned effigies representing WTO following a call by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). The protests partially disrupted vehicular traffic, which resumed in the afternoon.

BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait alleged the Union government was ignoring the genuine demands of farmers and condemned the "atrocities" against farmers camping on the Punjab-Haryana border points to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee of a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

Effigy-burning in progress (photo: PTI)
Effigy-burning in progress (photo: PTI)

In UP's Muzaffarnagar district, a tractor march by farmers on a highway disrupted traffic in many places. They also blocked the left lane of the Delhi-Dehradun national highway. The protesters parked their tractors at Bhuraheri under the Purkaji police station area, Bhangela under the Khatauli police station area, Mansoorpur intersection, and Rampur Tiraha under the Chhapar police station area.

BKU workers and farmers also parked their tractors on National Highway 58 in Meerut, causing a traffic jam. An effigy representing the WTO was also burned there. During this, BKU district president Anurag Chaudhary had a heated exchange of words with officials.

BKU workers held a meeting under the chairmanship of Madanpal Yadav, during which office bearers called for a march to Delhi on 14 March.

In Punjab's Hoshiarpur, farmers parked their tractors at several locations including the Jalandhar-Jammu National Highway. Led by Doaba Kisan Committee state president Jangveer Singh Chauhan, farmers also parked their tractors on a road at Bijli Ghar Chowk in Tanda. Addressing a gathering, Chauhan criticised WTO policies, calling them "anti-farmer".

Members of several other farm outfits such as Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal), BKU (Qadian), and BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) also held demonstrations and parked their tractors on Hoshiarpur-Phagwara Road, Nasrala-Taragarh Road, Dosarka-Fatehpur Road, Bullowal-Allowal Road and Bhunga-Hariana Road.

The protesters also demanded legal guarantees for MSP, debt waiver, implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations and pension for farmers.

In Amritsar, farmers parked their vehicles along highways in Ajnala, Jandiala Guru, Rayya and Beas. In Ludhiana, farmers owing allegiance to the SKM parked their tractors along the highway on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road to register their protest against the WTO.

In Haryana's Hisar, farmers held protests at 50 locations by parking their tractors along the state and national highways. All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) state vice president Shamsher Singh Nambardar said the demonstrations were held in Surewala Chowk, Mayyar Toll, Chaudhariwas, Bagla Mor, Badopatti and Bas Toll, among other locations.

He claimed the government was not offering an MSP on all crops owing to WTO policies.

Farmers also held a protest at the Bahadarabad toll plaza on the Haridwar-Delhi National Highway in Uttarakhand and sat on a day-long dharna. a large police force was deployed on the spot in view of the protest.

BKU's Kranti Morcha president Irfan Bhatti claimed that after the 2020-21 agitation by the farmers in Delhi, the Union government had promised that their demands would be fulfilled. But the promise was broken, forcing farmers to start their agitation again.

Farmer leader Subba Singh Dhillon said if the government "does not fulfil the promise made on MSP" and does not accept the demands of the farmers, the protests would grow stronger.

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