Chandigarh, Sep 26 (PTI) Farmers in Punjab continued their “rail roko” agitation at several places on Saturday as the Congress in Haryana announced over a month-long agitation against the Centre’s farm-related Bills from September 28.
The Haryana Congress will launch a signature campaign, hold a state-level farmers' conference besides holding protests in its drive against the farm Bills till October 31.
On Friday, a near total 'bandh' was observed in Punjab while farmers blocked several roads in Haryana.
The movement of trains remained suspended in Punjab on Saturday as farmers have extended their “rail roko” agitation by three days till September 29. Earlier, farmers had decided to block trains from September 24 to 26.
Meanwhile, the Ferozepur Railway Division decided not to run trains on Sunday in the wake of the farmers' stir.
“We have decided not to operate trains on September 27 as farmers are still squatting on some rail tracks in Punjab,” Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal said.
The next decision will be taken on Sunday evening as per prevailing circumstances, he said.
In Punjab, the call for the “rail roko” agitation was given by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee after which 20 trains were partially cancelled and five short terminated till September 26 by the Railways.
On Saturday, farmers squatted on the Amritsar-Delhi rail track and went shirtless in protest against the Bills.
They shouted slogans against the BJP-led Union government and demanded the rollback of the farm Bills which they described as “black laws”.
“Farmers have taken off their 'kurtas' and shirts to make the government hear our voice,” said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher over the phone.
Farmers under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) blocked rail tracks in nine districts.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan said the rail tracks were blocked at Mansa, Barnala, Nabha (Patiala), Chhahjli (Sangrur), Rampura (Bathinda), Ajitwal (Moga), Kotkapura (Faridkot), Gidderbaha (Muktsar), Jalalabad (Fazilka).
He said elders, women, youth and children also participated in protests.
Farmers would force the government with a series of protests to withdraw the farm Bills, he said, adding that the legislations will only “benefit” big corporates. Meanwhile, announcing its over a month-long agitation from September 28 to October 31, the Haryana Congress said the legislations will 'ruin' the lives of farmers, commission agents and labourers.
The party said on September 28, a 'foot march' to the Haryana Raj Bhavan under the leadership of its state president Kumari Selja will be held.
The Congress said party activists will observe 'save farmers and labourers' events at every assembly and district headquarters on October 2.
A state-level farmers’ conference will be held on October 10. From October 2 to October 31, the party will launch a 'signature campaign' against the Bills.
Farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre's farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporates. Parliament had recently passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.
These are yet to get the assent of the President. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK