Mum on farm fires, farmers protest pollution : The Tribune India

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Mum on farm fires, farmers protest pollution

Unions taking up non-agri issues too | Day after clash with cops, 1,100 booked

Mum on farm fires, farmers protest pollution

Farmers protest near the ethanol plant at Mansurwala in Ferozepur.



Tribune News Service

Sukhmeet Bhasin

Bathinda, December 21

Farmer unions are active in the region over non-agricultural issues too. They have been staging protests over agricultural issues, but many a time can also be seen protesting on issues other than agriculture.

Farmers have been protesting outside a liquor plant at Zira over alleged pollution caused by it whereas they themselves continue to burn stubble during the harvesting season. The farmers have been protesting outside the liquor plant for five months demanding that it be shut down as it is allegedly polluting the groundwater.

A few days ago, farmers protested at Bathinda alleging inaction in a fraud case in which a group of 16 persons had “duped” farmers of crores of rupees by promising “hefty returns” on investment. The farmers staged a protest outside the Cantonment police station in this matter.

Similarly, farmers came out in support of a Ferozepur-based family which was allegedly duped by a Bathinda-based immigration firm of Rs 19.50 lakh on the pretext of sending their daughter abroad. Union members, along with family members of the victim, staged a protest outside the office of the immigration firm in the Ajit Road area demanding justice in the matter.

Earlier this year, scores of farmers staged a protest against the Agnipath scheme in Bathinda, Sangrur, Muktsar and Mansa. In Bathinda, they submitted a memorandum to the President via the Deputy Commissioner, demanding revocation of the scheme with immediate effect. Farmers carried out a protest march in the city and raised slogans against the Centre.

Farmers also came out in support of people and staged a protest against the eviction of illegal occupants to clear the way for the construction of a ring road in Bathinda city near Dhobiana Basti earlier this year.

They also staged a protest against the move of the PSPCL to install smart meters across the state. They alleged that the government wanted to hand over the power sector to corporate houses, leading to high cost of power for the consumers.

Talking to The Tribune, farmer leader Shingara Singh Mann said, “We fight for justice; our stand is clear that we will fight against capitalist forces, corporate houses and world trade policies; thus, we stage protests over non-agriculture issues in support of the unemployed, victims and the ones who raise their voice against wrongdoings.”

On the Zira protest, he said, “The protest is against groundwater pollution, which is directly related to farmers.”

Meanwhile, according to a report from Ferozepur, a day after farmers clashed with the police at Mansurwala village, leaving six injured, the police have lodged an FIR against 1,100 unidentified persons under Sections 307, 353, 332, 186, 188, 143, 144, 145, 148 and 149 of the IPC, besides Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.

The FIR was registered last night on a complaint lodged by Head Constable Daljit Singh in which it was alleged that a mob comprising nearly 1,100 people, equipped with swords, rods and other sharp weapons, broke barricades set up by the police on the road from the T-point at Ratol Rohi village (NH 54) to the protest site outside the ethanol plant at Zira.

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