Panchayats of as many as 18 villages in Punjab's Mansa district on Saturday instructed their residents that at least one person from each family join the farmers protesting against the three agriculture laws in Delhi. Failing this, a penalty of Rs 1,500 will be imposed on the defaulting house.
The move comes as an attempt to increase numbers at the encampments erected by protesting farmers at Delhi's borders and build pressure for the repeal of the three laws - a demand in which the protesters have remained steadfast. Announcements about the panchayats' resolutions are being made using gurudwara loudspeakers in the concerned villages.
Manjit Kaur, sarpanch of the Virk Khurd village in Punjab's Bathinda, was quoted as saying by ANI, "Those who won't go to the protest will be fined Rs 1,500 and those who don't pay the fine will be boycotted."
Families whose male members are physically incapacitated or those who are underprivileged have been spared of the order. Other villages to have issued the clarion call include Nangal Kalan of Mansa and Mushkabad village in Samrala subdivision of Ludhiana, according to a report in Times of India.
In Nangal Kalan, the initiative has been taken a step further. The village panchayat passed a resolution stating that one person representing each family must go to Delhi for at least seven days and those who cannot go are mandated to instead contribute Rs 1,500 towards the farmers' movement, Indian Express reported. Similarly, in Virk Khurd, another resolution has been passed stating that the panchayat will pay for damages to any vehicles going to Delhi.
Farmer outfits on Friday started mobilising more batches of peasants from Haryana and Punjab to head towards Delhi's borders. At some places in Haryana, including Jind, Hisar, Bhiwani and Rohtak, batches of peasants headed towards various border points of Delhi, their leaders claimed.
In Haryana, Khap Panchayats held meetings and threw their weight behind the agitating farmers, a farmer leader of BKU (Chaduni) said on Friday. He said that several villages have decided to send one or two tractor-trolleys to join the protesters.
On Friday, the Shiromani Akali Dal also called upon its party cadre to "rush" to the protest sites n large numbers to give a further boost to the ongoing agitation.
(With PTI inputs)