A group of agitating farmers stopped the vehicle of BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh in Punjab’s Amritsar on Friday and confronted him over the recently enacted farm laws, but the leader sat down with the protesters and sought to explain the benefits of the legislations. Kirti Kisan Union activists stopped Chug’s vehicle when he was on his way to address a farmers’ rally at Harsha Chinna village near Ajnala in Amritsar district.
Punjab has been witnessing protests over the three farm laws with farmers blocking rail tracks and staging demonstrations in some parts of the state. The agitators demand rollback of the legislations which, they claimed, will benefit the corporate sector and harm peasants. BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who accompanied Chug in Amritsar, said the agitating farmers sought a meeting with the prime minister and the Union agriculture minister.
Chugh explained to the agitators that the laws would benefit them and assured them that a meeting with the top brass of the BJP would be arranged soon, Chhina said.Chugh later told reporters that these farm laws will bring big change in the lives of farmers and make them prosperous. He said that they will approach every single farmer and inform them about the benefits of these pro-farmer laws.
Chugh alleged that the Congress was misguiding the farmers, while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which quit the NDA over the farm laws, was spreading falsehood. We are firmly saying that MSP (minimum support price) will continue like it is now. Likewise, mandis will also continue in the same manner, the BJP leader said.
When contacted, Kirti Kisan Union leader Jatinderpal Singh Chhina, however, said Chugh had to cut short his meeting with the farmers and return due to the protest. He said the farmers’ bodies have already given a call to stage sit-ins in front of the residences of several BJP leaders and to register their protest if they come to meet them. Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said farmers had on Thursday staged a sit-in outside the residences of several BJP leaders, including former Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik, in Amritsar.
In other parts of the state, farmers squatted on railway tracks and raised slogans against the central government as part of an indefinite protest call given by several outfits. A total of 31 farmers’ bodies have joined hands to intensify the agitation and announced an rail roko agitation from October 1.
Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said that farmers, who put up blockades on rail tracks at 30 places, will continue the stir to press the Centre to revoke the new farm laws. Rail roko’ agitation took place in Dhablan (Patiala), Sunam (Sangrur), Budhlada (Mansa) and Gidderbaha (Muktsar) under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta).
Some other farmers’ unions blocked rail tracks in Barnala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Rupnagar, Phillaur, Moga, among others. Farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have been squatting on rail tracks in Amritsar and Ferozepur since September 24. The agitating farmers have given a call to boycott some corporate houses and their products in the state. According to them, the Centre wanted to “benefit" a few corporate houses with these “black laws".
The agitating farmers said they would continue their agitation till their demand for rollback of the laws was met. Earlier this week, President Ram Nath Kovind assented to the three bills — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.