rail roko agitation in Punjab

Members of various farmer organisations hold a protest against the Central Government over agriculture-related ordinances, in Patiala, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Courtesy: PTI Photo

Farmers in both Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against the bills for weeks now, arguing that these legislations would lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

Farmers in Punjab will protest against the central government’s three farm-related bills by staging a three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation across the state from September 24-26, a farmers’ body has announced.

“We have decided to hold a rail roko agitation from September 24 to 26 in the state against the farm bills,” Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said.

Already, different farmer organisations in Punjab have given a call for a ‘bandh’ in protest against the three farm bills. The farmers argue that the legislations would lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the ‘mercy’ of big corporates.

The government, however, says that the bills will help farmers across the country get a better market for their price and produce.

Nevertheless, farmers in both Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against the legislations for weeks now. On September 10, protesting farmers were lathicharged in Haryana’s Kurukshetra.

On Thursday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP and union minister of food processing industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as a mark of protest against the bills. The party, however, will continue to support the government from the outside.

Badal was the only SAD representative in the Modi government. The party from Punjab is the oldest ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre.

While one of the three bills- -the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020- -was passed on Tuesday, two others were passed by the Lok Sabha onThursday, with the SAD voting against them.

Source: Hindustan Times