New Delhi: After days of raging debates over the contentious passage of farm bills in the Parliament’s Monsoon Session by voice vote, farmers across the country are on Friday set to hit the streets as they go on a strike with a call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ for dismantling the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.Also Read - 7th Pay Commission Latest News: Haryana Govt Hikes Dearness Allowance For State Employees to 28% From July 1
As many as 31 farmer organisations have joined hands for the ‘Punjab Bandh’. Several organisations in Haryana, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said they had extended support to the nationwide strike called by some farmers’ bodies against the bills. Also Read - Haryana Issues Fresh Lockdown Guidelines with More Relaxations, Check Full Details Inside
While fully supporting their stance, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the farmers to maintain law and order, and adhere to all coronavirus-safety protocols during the strike. No FIRs would be registered for violation of Section 144, which bars assembly of more than four people, Singh asserted in the statement. Also Read - Navjot Singh Sidhu To Head Punjab Congress, Announcement Expected Today: Report
The Congress politburo has also supported the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by farmer organisations, saying millions of party workers stand in solidarity with the farmers’ cause and will participate in their dharnas.
“The Congress and Rahul Gandhi stand solidly with farmers and support the Bharat Bandh. Congress workers and leaders will join farmers’ dharna and protests,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Sujewala tweeted.
“The farmer’s cry will echo across the country on Friday in the ‘Bharat Bandh’,” Surjewala said.
However, Congress is not the only party protesting the agriculture bills passed by Centre despite more than half of the Opposition not present for vote.
Notably, two BJP leaders in Haryana – Parminder Singh Dhull and Rampal Majra – also dubbed the legislation as “anti-farmer”, claiming that the apprehensions about the minimum support price were not unfounded.
Several roads connecting Punjab with Haryana and Rajasthan have been closed in view of the mass agitation. Moreover, Northern Railways announced suspension of several trains including the Golden Temple Mail (Amritsar-Mumbai Central), Jan Shatabdi Express (Haridwar-Amritsar), New Delhi-Jammu Tawi, Karambhoomi (Amritsar-New Jalpaiguri), Sachkhand Express (Nanded-Amritsar) and Shaheed Express (Amritsar-Jaynagar).
In Bihar, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has called for a Bihar ‘Bandh’ aising strong objections against the Centre’s farm bills. Party leader Tejashwi Yadav has asked supporters to hit the roads in each of the 38 districts headquarters of Bihar and register strong protests against the Bills.
“The farmers of Bihar are already distraught. The Agri Bills will make them completely helpless. These Bills will allow industrialists to take over the agriculture sector,” he said.
On the other hand, in West Bengal, the farmers’ wing held a protest on Thursday demanding that the contentious ordinances be scrapped. Describing the farm sector reform bills as “death knell” for farmers and agricultural workers of the country, hundreds of activists of the TMC’s Kisaan Khet Mazdoor cell organised protest marches in various parts of the state.
Three contentious ordinances – 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 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha earlier this week.
The bills are yet to get the assent of the President.
(With PTI inputs)