Mukerian, December 2
A number of farmer organisations staged a protest on the national highway in front of the Mukerian sugar mill for the second day today. The protest is being held under the banner of the Joint Sugarcane Struggle Committee. The protesters are demanding that the sugarcane mills in Doaba and Majha be made functional, besides increasing the price of sugarcane and granting compensation for crop damage.
The situation became tense around 12 o’clock when the farmers started closing the service road on one side of the national highway. Thereafter, the police used force to disperse them.
Over 10 farmer leaders, including Gurpratap Singh Bhaini Paswal, Sahajdeep Singh, Sahib Singh Jagatpur Kalan, Satnam Singh Bagadian, Sonu Aulakh, Amarjeet Singh Rada, Gurnam Singh Jahanpur, Jaswant Singh Navi Bagadian, Kamalpreet Singh Kaki etc., were detained by the police.
The farmers were taken away to an unidentified place in two buses. After some time, the farmers started gathering there again and blocked one side of the national highway and one side of the service road. They kept raising slogans against the state government and the police.
Woman farmer Darinder Kaur said the police tried to intimidate the farmers protesting in a peaceful manner last night also. This morning, when they started blocking the road, the police took them away. “Now the administration is saying that they will facilitate talks with the CM. The leaders who had to talk have been taken away by the police. Who will hold talks now?” she said.
“We will not end the strike until our demands are met. There will be no talks with the administration or the CM, until the detained farmers are released,” she said.
Meanwhile, the detained farmer leaders were taken to the Talwara police station. They, however, launched on dharna in the police station itself. In the evening, the police took them to some undisclosed place in buses.
Farmer leaders said the protest was going on peacefully. The things turned bad when AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and CM Bhagwant Mann, who were present only about 20 km away from the protest site in Gurdaspur, did not make any announcement about increasing the sugarcane price. The farmers, who had already blocked a road, started blocking another one. The lathicharge by the police made things worse, they alleged.
No talks till detainees released
We will not end the strike until our demands are met. There will be no talks with the district administration or the CM, until the detained farmers are released. — Darinder Kaur, farmer
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