New Delhi: Farmer bodies in Punjab on Thursday launched a three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation against the three farm bills recently passed in Parliament. The Ferozepur Railway division suspended the operation of special trains owing to the stir. Also Read - Battle Lines Drawn: Amarinder Moves Resolution in Punjab Assembly Against Centre's Farm Laws
As many as 31 farmers’ outfits have given a call for the complete shutdown of Punjab on September 25 to protest against the controversial bills. Also Read - Punjab: AAP MLAs Spend Night in Assembly Premises Over Agriculture Law
At least 14 pairs of special trains will remain suspended from September 24 till 26, railway authorities said. The decision has been taken keeping in mind the safety of passengers and protection of railway property from any damage, officials said. Also Read - Farmer Outfits in Punjab to Intensify Stir Against New Farm Laws, Declare State-wide Protests on October 17
The trains to remain suspended include 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), officials said.
Routine passenger train service remains suspended presently because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call for ‘rail roko’ agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and later, different farmers’ outfits extended their support.
Activists of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) squatted on rail tracks in Barnala and Sangrur on Thursday morning.
Farmers under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have decided to squat on rail tracks near Devidaspur village in Amritsar and Basti Tanka wala in Ferozepur.
The representatives of the committee said they were receiving support from several sections, including government employees and labourers.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee president Satnam Singh Pannu said that they have appealed to representatives of political parties, ministers, MPs and MLAs not to take part in the farmers’ agitation.
They vowed to gherao BJP leaders and socially boycott those who voted in favour of the farm bills.
Farmers in Punjab have expressed apprehension that the bills would pave way for dismantling the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The Rajya Sabha had passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 amid protests from Opposition and ally Shiromani Akali Dal.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers protested in Bathinda against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and party leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal over the agri reform bills. The two SAD leaders are visiting Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Bathinda today.
(With inputs from agencies)