Bharat Bandh: Rallies, protest mark day in Jammu

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Bharat Bandh: Rallies, protest mark day in Jammu
Rallies, protest mark Bharat Bandh in Jammu

JAMMU — Farmers on Monday blocked Jammu-Pathankot highways and other roads at many places to express support for Bharat Bandh call given by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against the Centre’s three agriculture laws.

The train services also remain affected in Jammu and Kashmir as all trains were delayed due to forcible demonstrations across Punjab.

As per news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Traffic on Jammu-Pathankot Highway remain affected since morning as no outgoing vehicle was allowed to cross Lakhanpur to enter Punjab due to framers’ protests.

The train services, mainly the incoming and outgoing trains from Katra-Jammu, got delayed due to the protests. The situation got normalized after 3:00 PM in Jammu.

Earlier, led by Jammu Kashmir Kisan Sabha and Communist Party of India (Marxist), various farmers’ leaders staged protest demonstration at Satwari Chowk, Dogra Chowk and various other parts of city and virtually halted Satwari Kunjwani tube of national highway.

At Press Club, the protesters led by CPI (M) leader leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, hundreds of activists and farmers took out a rally and sat on a Dharna on the main road here, leading to disruption of traffic.

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Addressing the activists, Tarigami said these ‘anti-farmer’ laws are bound to ‘destroy’ the agriculture sector and threaten India’s food security. “Besides, these laws will lay the basis for abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage the country’s agriculture and markets to the corporate sector,” he charged.

Tarigami said the issue of providing fair price for farmers’ produce by ensuring a minimum support price has been a long pending demand of farmers. “On the one hand, the farmers are facing the brunt of increasing prices of diesel, petrol, fertilisers, other agricultural inputs and their daily necessities, and on the other hand, they are becoming poorer as their income is getting reduced,” he said.

Noting that the “historic struggle” by farmers to demand repeal of the agri-laws and legal guarantee of MSP is still continuing, he charged that the Modi government has refused to engage with these struggling farmers through talks. The government should immediately start negotiations with farmers to sort out the issue, he demanded.

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In Jammu, the demonstrations were organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Kissan Tehreek.

Expressing solidarity with striking farmers, Om Prakash, General Secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, said there was a need to strengthen worker-peasant unity to fight the neo-liberal policies and “attack” on the livelihood of farmers and working class.

Many non-NDA parties have extended support to the nationwide 10-hour strike on Monday called by farmers protesting against the three agri laws under the aegis of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM).

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

The three laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — were passed by Parliament in September last year.

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