Farmers, employees back rights activists

MOHALI: Members of several organisations of farmers and employees staged a day-long protest at YPS Chowk here on Thursday.

Farmers, employees back rights activists

In solidarity: Farmers and members of employees’ unions protest in Mohali on Thursday.

Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13

Members of several organisations of farmers and employees staged a day-long protest at YPS Chowk here on Thursday. Gathered in large numbers, the protesters demanded the immediate release of the five rights activists — Prof Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzalves, Arun Farreira, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navalakha — who have been put under house arrest in Maharashtra.

Raising slogans against the Union Government, they marched towards YPS Chowk, where the police stopped them. The agitators sat on dharna on the road leading to Chandigarh.

Leaders of various unions, including the BKU (Dakoda), BKU (Ugraha), Kirti Kisan Union, Democratic Kisan Sabha, Karamchari Kisan Union, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and Punjab Roadways Employees Union, addressed the protesters. According to a leader, members of more than 40 associations participated in the protest.

Condemning the Union Government for action against the rights activists, the leaders, including Joginder Singh Ugraha, Lachman Singh, Buta Singh and Satnam Singh, said they would intensify their protest if the activists were not released immediately. The dharna was lifted around 4 pm.

The police had made elaborate arrangements for the protest. Barricades were placed near the Mohali-Chandigarh border. Traffic was diverted during peak hours. Meanwhile, a traffic jam was witnessed on the road separating Sectors 51 and 52.

A local resident, Pankaj Kumar, said the road had become a favourite spot for protesters. “Every second day, there is some protest and residents face inconvenience," he said. 

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