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Punjab nears lockdown as farmers begin protest against recent farm reform bills passed in parliament


CHANDIGARH: Life came to a standstill across Punjab as farmers called for a bandh. Almost 30 state farmer organizations backed by major political parties protested over the three agricultural bills passed in the parliamentary recently.

In more than 200 places the farmers blocked roads and almost 125 places where farmers squatted on rail tracks. The supply of essential commodities was hit badly, fruit and vegetable markets besides supply of milk also remained close. Public transport remained quite low as well, with people preferring to stay indoors.

According to sources, Bathinda the parliamentary constituency of Harsimrat Kaur Badal and back yard of the Badal family, Patiala the home district of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Ferozepur parliamentary constituency of Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal, Muktsar home district of Badals, Moga, Barnala, Fazilka, Mansa in Malwa region of the state and in other districts life came to a stop.

Workers Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, and AAP also started gathering at many places to stage protests against farm Bills. While the supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI), blocked Amritsar-Delhi National Highway near Phillaur in Jalandhar, the Bathinda-Zirakpur National Highway was blocked at Rampura Phul in Bathinda district.

All state farmer organizations came on a common platform and supported the Punjab bandh on September 25 which was earlier announced by the state unit of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress, the main opposition party Aam Aadmi Party, Punjab, and Shiromani Akali Dal had already announced their full backing of the bandh.

Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal had said yesterday, "Now that the SAD had come into the field in support of farmers, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party had gotten afraid that Punjab would rise as one against the Agricultural Bills."

He had appealed to SAD workers to hold protests in each assembly constituency in Punjab today as part of the ‘chakka jam’ protest. He said this would be followed by a ‘Kisan March’ from all three Takths on October 1.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had appealed to the farmers to strictly maintain law and order, and adhere to all COVID safety protocols, during tomorrow’s Bandh against the Agriculture Bills.

"While the state government was fully with the farmers in their fight against the bills and no FIRs will be registered for violation of Section 144, there should be no disturbance of the law and order during the Bandh,’’ he had said.

Meanwhile, in Haryana, several farmers organizations including the BKU, have also extended support to the nationwide strike called by some farmers' bodies against the bills.