Punjab farmers hold 2-hour ‘chakka jam’ against police action on farm law protesters in Sirsa  

Farmer organisations held a two-hour ‘chakka jam’ (road blockade) in parts of Punjab to protest use of water cannons and tear gas by Haryana Police during a stir in Sirsa against the new farm laws

Screengrab from the video (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@iepunjab)
Screengrab from the video (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@iepunjab)


Farmer organisations held a two-hour 'chakka jam' (road blockade) in parts of Punjab on Friday to protest the use of water cannons and tear gas by the Haryana Police during a stir in Sirsa against the new farm laws.

Protesting farmers blocked highways and some other roads in the state, causing disruption in vehicular movement, though officials said traffic was diverted to alternative routes at many places.

"The national highways and some other roads remained blocked during the two-hour 'chakka jam' from 12 pm to 2 pm. However, ambulances and other vehicles having any kind of emergency were allowed to pass," said Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union.

He said farmers also held dharnas at various toll plazas in the state.

"We were protesting the police action against farmers in Sirsa, Haryana. They were not allowed to protest, water cannons and tear gas was used, and later, they were evicted from the site," Pal said.

A farmer protesting near a toll plaza in Ludhiana hit out at the Centre, saying, "It does not understand the pain of the farmers. Our colleagues were protesting in Sirsa against the farm laws, but their voice was suppressed.

"The central government claims that these laws are for our benefit, but they must understand if farmers are unhappy, what is the worth of these legislations then," he asked.

Farmers protesting in Amritsar and in Hoshiarpur's Tanda said the new farm laws will not only "hit them but labourers and small shopkeepers too will be impacted".

A protest was held near the Shambhu border, blocking the national highway towards Ambala.

Haryana Police had on Tuesday used water cannons and tear gas to disperse agitating farmers, who tried to cross barricades and proceed towards the residences of Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala and his grand uncle and Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala in Sirsa located barely 200 metres from the protest site.

The farmers were seeking resignations of Dushyant Chautala, a JJP leader, and Ranjit Singh Chautala, an Independent legislator, from the Manohar Lal Khattar government over the recently enacted farm legislations.

Meanwhile, in reply to a question, Pal said the Centre should listen to the concerns of the farmers.

"The government should call us by extending a proper invite and listen to our concerns. Not only farmers, but so many parties are opposed to these laws, which means there is something controversial on which a discussion should be held.

"They should call us on some official forum. Either the prime minister can talk to us or they can form a parliamentary group or authorise some Group of Ministers to discuss things. They should consider these voices of protest from Punjab, Haryana and other parts," the Krantikari Kisan Union president said.

Farmers are continuing their 'rail roko' agitation against the agri-related legislations across Punjab. Rail tracks are blocked at 33 places in the state. Protesting farmers have staged sit-ins outside several petrol pumps, toll plazas and shopping malls.

Many are also sitting on 'dharnas' outside the houses of some BJP leaders.

The farmers have said they would continue their agitation till their demand for revocation of the farm laws was met.

They have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm reforms would pave a way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.

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