Retreating his Congress government commitment with the protesting farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday appealed to the Central government to repeal the three farm legislations. But he asked farmers to raise their voices in a peaceful manner.
“#IStandWithFarmers & appeal the Union Govt. to repeal the three anti-farmer laws,” the Chief Minister tweeted. “Our farmers have been struggling for their rights for more than a year & it is high time that their voice is heard. I request the farmers to raise their voice in a peaceful manner.”
Punjab Congress president Navjot Sidhu said, “The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by farmer unions in the war of right and wrong you cannot afford to be neutral. We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three unconstitutional black laws.”
Hundreds of farmers on Monday blocked major highways, including National Highway 1 linking Delhi with parts of Haryana and Punjab, and railway tracks following a nationwide call by farmers’ unions.
Traffic across Punjab and Haryana was hit badly and saw traffic disruptions as farmers, farm laborers, commission agents, shopkeepers, trade and employee unions, and activists of political parties squatted on national highways till 4 p.m.
The protesting farmers parked their tractors on highways and major link roads in both Punjab and Haryana and squatted on the road.
Heavy police presence could be seen at various places in Haryana and Punjab to maintain law and others in view of the protest by farmers.
The police diverted traffic at several places as the farmers blocked the highways.
However, there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the states. Emergency medical services were exempted from the blockade.
In view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’, Haryana Police has issued an advisory stating that people may face traffic blockages in the state.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of over 32 farmer unions, announced to observe the protest.
The agitated farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws passed by Parliament last year and have expressed apprehension that they would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate houses.
The government has maintained that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.