Bharat bandh brings Punjab to a standstill : The Tribune India

Bharat bandh brings Punjab to a standstill

Protesters block roads, highways, rail tracks | 50,000 state govt employees go on mass leave

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8

Getting widespread support from all sections of society, the Bharat bandh called by farm organisations in protest against the BJP-led NDA government’s three farm laws saw a complete shutdown in Punjab today.

The entire state echoed with the sentiments of farmers and a clarion call to repeal the laws as people in large numbers came on roads carrying placards ‘no farmer, no food’ to express solidarity with farmers who have been observing a peaceful protest at the Delhi borders.

The attendance in government offices was thin as over 50,000 state government employees were on a one-day mass leave in support of farmers. Dharnas organised at block levels at 60 locations by different farmer unions saw large gatherings.

In Patiala, the protesters blocked the main roads and highways. Residents sat on dharnas at various places while Youth Congress workers burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Fountain Chowk in Patiala.

Around 2,000 engineers wore black badges and participated in protest rallies across the state in support of the farmers’ agitation and the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill-2020. The PSEB Engineers’ Association, a body of power engineers in Punjab, also supported the struggle of farmers.

The teaching faculty members and students of Punjabi University, Patiala, came together in solidarity with farmers against the Centre. Around 300 in number, they closed the entry gates of the university and held a protest.

Dr Nishan Singh Deol, president, Punjabi University Teachers’ Association, Patiala, said all businessmen, students, farmers and people of other professions had come together against the farm laws.

The Patiala District Bar Association also led a march in support of bandh call of the farmers. Jatinderpal Singh Ghumaan of the association said the Centre should find a solution to the concerns raised by farmers. “We will provide all legal help to farmers wherever required,” Ghumaan said.

Health workers under the banner of the NHM Employees’ Union, Punjab, also burnt the effigy of the Prime Minister. Employees of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) also participated in the Bharat bandh and staged a protest outside the PRTC bus stand.

Bathinda and Mansa witnessed a complete shutdown in support of the bandh call given by farmers.

Tension erupted in the morning during the farmers’ protest at Kanhaiya Chowk in Bathinda when protesters damaged the windscreen of a private car of an Army man. He was going to Bikaner, but as farmers had given the call of a bandh, they were not ready to allow him go further. Later, senior farmer union leaders allowed passage to the car.

The supply of essential commodities was hit badly in these areas. Fruit and vegetable markets remained closed in all the cities and towns of the Malwa belt. The supply of milk was partially affected in many areas.

Farmers blocked and staged protests at various points in Bathinda district. They blocked the Bathinda-Amritsar national highway at Kanhaiya Chowk and near a toll plaza in Jeeda village. In Moga, the farm unions staged protests at 13 locations. The continuous protest outside the silo owned by a corporate giant in Dagru village also continued on the 62nd day today. The petroleum dealers also closed the filling stations to back the call for the nationwide strike. Darshan Singh Maiserkhana and Mothu Singh Kotra of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) said the Central Government brought the farm laws in haste without consulting the farm organisations. Shops and commercial establishments remained closed in Ferozepur, Fazilka, Ropar, Faridkot, Muktsar and other districts as well.

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