NEW DELHI – Dozens of farmer groups have announced an intensified agitation after the Union government passed three agriculture sector Bills in the Lok Sabha.
Over 250 farmer and farm-worker organisations, under the umbrella of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), have given a call for a ‘Bharat bandh’ on September 25.
“The working group of the AIKSCC has decided to forcefully go ahead with its opposition to the Bills and on September 25, we will hold a ‘Bharat bandh’ in protest,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartaiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) in Punjab, which is a part of the AIKSCC.
“Several other outfits, apart from those associated with the AIKSCC have also extended support to our call for ‘Bharat bandh’. We are not going to relent unless our demands are met,” Singh was quoted by The Hindu as saying.
Amid protests by farmers and commission agents, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, were passed by the Lower House of Parliament. It invited sharp opposition from several farmer outfits, besides political parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal, one of the oldest alliance partners of the BJP.
“These three Bills will completely stop the government procurement of crops, bringing to a grinding halt the price security for peasants as private ‘mandis’ shall be set up and price and trade regulation of all cereals, all pulses, all oilseeds, onion and potato shall be removed from coverage under essential commodities,” said Singh.
Sarvan Singh Pandher of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti, which had been staging continuous protests (sit-in) in Punjab since September 7 in protest against the ordinances/bills, on Friday announced a “rail roko” agitation in Punjab from September 24.
“We will start the ‘rail roko’ in two districts to begin with and if our demands are not met, we will intensify it. We will also support the ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by the AIKSSC,” said Pandher.
In Haryana, as many as 17 farmer outfits that have joined hands under the flag of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) and announced continuation of their protest across the State.
“On September 20, we will block all major roads between 12 noon and 3 p.m.in protest against the Bills. We will also support the ‘Bharat bandh’,” said Rakesh Bains of the BKU.