India

Protests against Farm Bills hit India, 125 places in Punjab charge up as normal life is hit, all main highways blocked

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State Govt with farmers, no FIRs would be registered: Punjab CM

Punjab: After 3 consecutive farm bills were passed in both houses of the Indian Parliament during the Monsoon session that awaits presidential assent, a call for a bandh was given by the farm organizations based in Punjab which brought life to a standstill in Bathinda, Jalandhar, Patiala, Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Barnala, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa, and other districts of Malwa belt in Punjab on Friday.

Protests are being held at 125 places in Punjab, said leaders of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. All main highways now blocked by farmers.

As many as 31 farmer organisations, under the aegis of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) have joined hands for the complete shutdown of Punjab.

Among farmers’ unions which are supporting the bandh call included Bharti Kisan Union Krantikari, Kirti Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and BKU (Lakhowal).

Several organisations in Haryana, including the BKU, have also extended support to the nationwide strike called by some farmers’ bodies against the bills.

Police personnel were deployed in ample strength across the state to maintain law and order, officials said.

While the ruling Congress and the AAP have extended support to the farmers’ protest, the Shiromani Akali Dal has announced to hold road blockades.

Farmers at several places in the state started gathering on roads for stopping the movement of traffic.

Women protesters under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee in Amritsar took out a protest march.

Shops and commercial establishments at many places in Punjab remained shut on Friday morning in the wake of farmers’ stir.

Shopkeepers had been appealed to keep their shops shut in support of farmers.

Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said farmers would hold protests at over 150 places across the state adding that they were getting support from traders, transporters and taxi operators among others.

The Punjab Bandh call is getting support from government employees’ unions, singers, commission agents, labourers and social activists.

In Patiala, essential supplies, including milk and poultry supply, were hit as farmers held blockades on roads leading to the city. Hundreds of farmers held a protest and blocked the Sangrur-Patiala highway.

The Chandigarh-Bathinda highway was completely blocked by farmers.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said on Thursday the state government was fully with the farmers in their fight against the bills and no FIRs would be registered for violation of Section 144, which bars assembly of more than four people.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament earlier this week.

 

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