Rail roko: Farmers squat on rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana; services hit : The Tribune India

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Rail roko: Farmers squat on rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana; services hit

9 trains cancelled, 25 delayed | Many detained

Rail roko: Farmers squat on rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana; services hit

Farmers block railway tracks at Devi Das Pura near Amritsar on Sunday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Mohan & Aman Sood

New Delhi/Patiala, March 10

Farmers on Sunday squatted on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana as part of a “rail roko” protest called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha to press the Centre for their demands, including a legal guarantee for MSP and debt waiver.

Passengers harried

  • Train traffic completely halted for over four hours at many places in Punjab
  • Passengers seen waiting at stations or trying to find other means of transport
  • In Haryana, several protesting farmers detained at Dabwali and Ellenabad
  • ‘Rail roko’ call given after farmers’ “Dilli Chalo” march halted at Haryana borders

The protest led to disruptions at nearly 70 locations in these two states, resulting in the cancellation of nine trains and delays for around 25 trains. Even as the farmer unions had given a nationwide “rail roko” call, farmers from other states abstained from participating in the protest.

Unions, however, claimed their agitation gained momentum in various parts of the country despite government crackdown in many states.

“Numerous trains were cancelled in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” said a leader, claiming that the protest was a success.

He claimed, “In Punjab, trains were stopped at more than 100 places, while there was a complete halt in Tamil Nadu. In Haryana, hundreds of farmers were arrested in Dabwali and Ellenabad. A kisan mahapanchayat was held in Fatehabad in which thousands of farmers joined and pledged to strengthen the movement.”

Sources said the train traffic was completely halted for over four hours at many places in Punjab where 12 unions joined the agitation. Passengers were seen waiting at railway stations or trying to find alternative means to travel to their destinations.

In Haryana, several farmers were reportedly detained at Dabwali and Ellenabad while they were on their way to protest sites. Additionally, a group of farmers in Dausa, Rajasthan, was detained by the police during a demonstration.

The “rail roko”, scheduled from noon till 4 pm, was initiated by the unions following the Haryana Police’s intervention in their “Dilli Chalo” protest, which halted the march of thousands of farmers at the Shambhu and Khannauri borders. According to KMM leaders, besides many locations in Punjab, protests were held in Ambala, Panchkula and Sirsa districts in Haryana, Pilibanga in Rajasthan, Thanjuvur in Tamil Nadu and Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh.

Jagjit Singh Dallewal, coordinator of the SKM (N-P), emphasised nationwide participation in the protests, saying it would help pressure the Centre to accept their demands. Tejveer Singh, a spokesperson of the BKU-Shaheed Bhagat Singh (Haryana), accused the Haryana Government of intimidating farmers by issuing them notices in a bid to scuttle the protest call.

Meanwhile, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, and the BKU (Tikait) of Uttar Pradesh stayed away from the protests as they were said to be working on a parallel demonstration. The SKM will hold a national-level kisan mahapanchayat at Delhi’s Ramlila ground on March 14 and was working to garner support from farmer bodies to make it a success.

This was the second attempt by the unions to mobilise support from outside Punjab as they had earlier urged farmers in different parts of the country to reach Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on March 6. But like the previous attempt, this call too reportedly failed to evoke much response from other states.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Samyukt Kisan Morcha


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