Modi in Patiala today, agitating farmers threaten to block all entry points to city : The Tribune India

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Modi in Patiala today, agitating farmers threaten to block all entry points to city

Union activists to march towards PM’s rally venue carrying black flags

As Modi starts his LS poll campaign in Punjab’s Patiala; farmers begin their protest march to venue



Tribune News Service

Mohit Khanna

Shambhu (Patiala), May 22

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Patiala on Thursday, several farmer organisations have announced protests, including road blockades and sit-ins.

The announcement came on Wednesday on the 100th day on the ongoing protest at the Shambhu border here.

BKU (Sidhupur) activists stage a protest at Dabwali near the Punjab-Haryana border on Wednesday. Tribune photo

While leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) announced that its activists would move towards the PM’s rally venue carrying black flags, leaders of the other SKM said they would gather at five entry points leading to Patiala. A splinter group of the SKM said they would block these five entry points. The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) said its activists would protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Insisting on talks with the PM, farmer leaders Sarwan Singh Pandher, Amarjeet Singh Mohri and Manjit Singh Rai said in case they were not invited for a dialogue, they would protest against the PM’s visit by showing black flags as well as flags of their respective unions. “We do not wish to disrupt the rally, but we will march towards the venue and make our voice heard. The government has the machinery to stop the protest. They will do their job and we will do ours,” said Pandher at Shambhu. He said farmers would proceed towards the venue from the Shambhu, Khanauri, Dabwali and Rattanpura borders.

He said they would gherao BJP candidates’ houses on May 28. On June 2, they would hold a meeting to chalk out their future course of action. “We have learnt that the government has allocated the DC office in Patiala as the venue for the farmers’ protest. We will organise a massive protest,” said the general secretary of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.

The police have set up barricades to check the movement of the farmers.

Amarjeet Singh Mohri, president of the BKU (Shaheed Bhagat Singh), accused the state unit of the BJP of polarising Punjab ahead of the elections. He said, “It is a protest of farmers, labourers, small shopkeepers and businessmen. The Khalistan graffiti in Patiala before the PM’s visit is nothing but yet another tactic to polarise the state.”

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