Farmers’ protest, Akali marches bring Punjab to a standstill

SAD chief Sukhbir and his wife Harsimrat detained at the outskirts of Chandigarh

Published: 02nd October 2020 10:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2020 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal leads a Kisan Rally against farm laws  in Patiala on Thursday | PTI

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal were among scores of party leaders detained by the Punjab Police when they tried to enter Chandigarh with their massive rallies from two sides.

Elsewhere, farmers intensified their protests with the protestors squatting outside the residences of the BJP leaders and laying siege offices of multinational firms as well as malls, petrol pumps and toll plazas. Thirty-one farmer unions are extending the ‘rail roko’ stir for an indefinite period at more places 24 places in Punjab of which a dozen in Malwa, at eight places in Majha and the rest in Doaba.

“We are getting massive support from the public from today as an indefinite rail roko began at more than two dozen places. There were dharnas at establishments owned by Reliance, Essar and Adani groups,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal Group) president Balbir Singh Rajewal. Dharnas were held outside the houses of BJP leaders including former BJP president Shwait Malik in Amritsar, Union Minister Som Parkash in Phagwara, former cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia in Jalandhar, BJP MLA Arun Narang in Abohar, BJP Punjab Kisan Morcha president Bikramjeet Singh Cheema in Ludhiana. 

On October 7, farmers unions will meet in Chandigarh to chalk out their course of action in their ongoing protest against the recently passed agri legislations. The SAD, meanwhile, launched three ‘kisan marches’ to Chandigarh against the new farm laws and planned to submit a memorandum to the Governor.  Sukhbir headed the march from Akal Takht in Amritsar while his wife and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was in charge of another procession which began from Bathinda.

The Badals were detained when their processions reached the outskirts of Chandigarh. “We are being arrested for speaking out for the rights of farmers, but we are pursuing the truth and our force will not be silenced,” Harsimrat tweeted. The Chandigarh Police resorted to lathi-charge and used water cannon in order to disperse the crowd at Mullanpur and later detained Sukhbir and other leaders. The police released them later. 

2 mn signatures to be collected
In Chhattisgarh, Congress will carry out a campaign to collect signatures of two million farmers. The party declared to launch the drive at every district on October 2.  The signature campaign will continue till October 31 during which the party workers have been asked to visit each and every household of farmers.

Gehlot govt looks for legal options
The Ashok Gehlot government decided to explore legal ways for blocking the three agri laws passed by Parliament. It plans to bring in its own Bills in the Rajasthan Assembly. The ruling Congress will also higlight the “unacceptable” anti-farmers’ provisions in the “draconian”laws. 


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