Phenomenal response to bandh call in Amritsar district

Markets remained closed, vehicles off roads till 4pm

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27

The Bharat bandh call by farmer unions protesting against the three controversial agriculture laws received a massive response from the general public as shopkeepers, traders and other businesses kept their establishments closed on Monday.

A deserted view of Hall Bazaar during the Bharat bandh call against the three contentious agri laws passed by the Central Government, in Amritsar, on Monday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

The farmers blocked road and rail traffic at various points in the district from 6 am to 4 pm. Even the BSF vehicles, which move frequently from one place to another in Ajnala and Attari sectors, were intimated about the road blocks in advance. As a result, their vehicles stayed off road.

In the city, the Metro bus service and auto-rickshaws also remained off road during the day. Even the number of private vehicles seen on the roads was negligible as compared to normal days. Farmers had blocked all main roads leading to the city from different towns. While the 32 farmer unions, united under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), had not announced to block rail routes, activists of Kisan Sangharsh Committee, which is not a part of the SKM, blocked railway lines at Devidaspura and other places. At Devidaspura, farmers removed their clothes to protest against the Centre Government.

Farmers of various organisations protest at the Golden Gate during the Bharat bandh call against the three contentious agri laws passed by the Central Government, in Amritsar, on Monday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

The SKM organised massive protests at 10 different places, including Attari, Chogawan, Majitha, Rayya, Kathunagal, Jaintipur, Ajnala and others. Apart from SKM and KSC, a local organisation of city residents, Holy City Farmers’ Group, too, mobilised city dwellers for the protest and blocked Gumtala Chowk.

While the bandh call received complete support from shopkeepers, as they voluntarily kept their shops closed, in the city, too, over 80 per cent shops remained closed till 4 pm. Apart from the activists of farmer unions, the active members of the Congress, SAD and AAP, too, were seen at most of the protest sites.

“It is not clear if the workers of political parties have come on their own or their respective parties had asked them to join the protest. The response to the SKM call was phenomenal,” a farmer leader said.

Students boycott classes, stage protest at GNDU entrance

Students protest at the entrance of GNDU in support of bandh call. Sunil Kumar

Amritsar: Students of Guru Nanak Dev University boycotted classes on Monday to participate in the Bharat bandh call given by the farmers’ association and staged a protest at the university’s entrance. The protest was supported by all student associations at GNDU, including Students for Society (SFS), Punjab Students’ Union (Lalkar), Sath, Punjab Students’ Union and All-India Students’ Federation. The university entrance was blocked at 8 am and remained closed till the afternoon. Student leaders criticised the Central government for three controversial agriculture laws and demanded that these be repealed without further delay. They also criticised the government for privatisation of public sector units. Leader of GNDU Pensioners’ Association Amarjit Bai, Tarksheel Society’s Sumit Singh, Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee’s Dr Parminder, Bhartiya Kisan Union Krantikari leader Sawinderpal Singh and Kirti Kisan Union leader Prof Barinder Singh also participated in the protest and lauded the role of students for supporting the protest. TNS

Massive attendance of protesters in Tarn Taran

The Bharat bandh call given by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha against the three contentious agri laws evoked a massive response as the agitating farmers, supported by other sections of society, staged dharnas on roads on Monday. The women folk and the youths, too, participated in the demonstrations against the farm laws. Shops and other commercial establishments including rehris and farhis, too, remained closed. Commission agents (arhtiyas), too, downed shutters at the grain markets and farmers preferred not to bring their paddy produce. The farmer organisations affiliated with the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha organised dharna at the local T-points on Sarhali Road and blocked National Highway No.54. Leaders of Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Kul Hind Kisan Sabha, Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal), Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Kot Budha), Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Pannu), Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee including Jaspal Singh Chabal, Bakar Valtoha, Baldev Singh Pandori and others addressed on the occasion and warned the Union Government to repeal farm laws or face agitation. Kar Sewa Sect led by Baba Jagtar Singh Tarn Taran Wale served Guru-Ka-Langar to the participating farmers. The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, staged dharnas at the Usman Toll Plaza, Gohalwar, Chabal, Harike, Toll Plaza Mannan, Gaggo Bua, Sursingh, Patti, Sheikhchakk, Nagoke, Dialpur, Harike, Bhikhiwind, Dhand and in villages. Satnam Singh Manochahal, Harpreet Singh Sidhwan and Tejinderpal Singh were among other leaders who addressed on the occasion. The entry points to the district at Goindwal Sahib and on the Bhoewal bridge connecting Ferozepur, too, were blocked by the agitating farmers. The workers of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), too, participated in the protests. — Gurbaxpuri

Centre, farmers should sit together to end logjam: PPBM

Amritsar: The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) has requested the government to hold talks with farmers to diffuse the prolonged deadlock over the three farm laws. It claimed that a day-long strike causes a loss to the tune of Rs500 crore to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and that too when the state is yet to come out of financial losses incurred on account of Covid-19 lockdown. The entire GSDP of Punjab stands at Rs6lakh crore, in which agriculture contributes 27 per cent and the rest 73 per cent is contributed by the trade and industry. So, for the overall development of the state, the government should focus on the service sector, trade and industry. PPBM president Piara Lal Seth said strike and shutdowns were not long-term solutions to the logjam between farmers and the Union Government. Instead, agitating farmer unions and government must sit together with farmer leaders to find a permanent solution. Strikes have only accentuated financial troubles of the government, which is yet to come out of the losses incurred during Covid-19 pandemic. Closure of trade and travel will only add to the losses, he said. TNS

Bacchus lovers have a field day

A man purchases liquor from a tavern on Amritsar Road in Tarn Taran.

Tarn Taran: People from different sections of society extended their support to the Bharat bandh call given by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) by not opening their shops and boycotting work. However, some wine shops remained open and salesmen were seen selling liquor. A wine shop on the Amritsar road remained open the whole day and salesmen were seen selling liquor to their regular customers through a half-open shutter. Salesmen at another wine shop at the local bus stand were also found attending their customers. OC

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