Union leaders say protest marks launch of second phase of agitation against Centre for going back on assurances
Farmer unions on Saturday announced the launch of the “second leg” of the agitation, which forced the repeal of three agri laws, as the Union government has failed to implement the assurances made last year on demands like legally guaranteed MSP, withdrawal of the Electricity Bill, and withdrawal of cases registered against them during the year-long stir.
The farmers also submitted a memorandum to the governors of Punjab and Haryana seeking implementation of their various demands. Prior to that, on the call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), representatives of farmer bodies in the two states also took out a march to mark the second anniversary of their agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws.
The farmers from across Punjab gathered at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Mohali before taking out a march till the Chandigarh-Mohali border from where a representative of the Punjab Governor accepted a memorandum on his behalf. A heavy police force was deployed at the Chandigarh-Mohali border.
Later, several farmer leaders including Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Harinder Singh Lakhowal and Harmeet Singh Kadian were taken in a bus by the Chandigarh Police to Raj Bhavan in the Union Territory for a meeting with the Governor where they submitted the memorandum, which was addressed to the President.
The farmers from Haryana too were stopped at the Housing Board Chowk in Panchkula. According to the SKM, the administration facilitated a delegation of the farmer leaders to Haryana Raj Bhawan where ADC to Governor received their memorandums.
Later, speaking to reporters, farmer leader Harmeet Singh Kadian said Punjab governor assured the them that he would send their memorandum to the President on Sunday.
The SKM had given a call for taking out marches to Raj Bhavans across the country to mark two years since it launched the agitation. The SKM long marches and rallies were held in 25 state capitals and more than 300 district headquarters and numerous tehsil headquarters. “On the call of the SKM, farmers, supported by workers, students, youth, women and ordinary people, held mega foot marches and rallies today. Altogether, it is estimated that more than 3,000 protests were held all over India. More than 5 million people came out on the streets to register their protest against the anti-farmer BJP-led Union government,” the SKM said in a statement.
Earlier, addressing the farmers in Mohali, union farmer leader Darshan Pal asked the Centre to ensure legally guaranteed MSP on all crops. Pal further said that indebted farmers were forced to end their lives and demanded from the government to waive their entire debt.
The farmer leader also sought a pension of Rs 10,000 per month for small and marginal farmers and farm labourers.
Among other demands, Pal sought withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022, dismissal of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra, a comprehensive crop insurance scheme to compensate farmers for crop loss due to natural calamities, withdrawal of cases registered against farmers during the agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws and compensation to families of farmers who lost their lives during the stir.
The SKM, a body of farmers’ unions that spearheaded the agitation against the agri laws, has also called a meeting on December 8 in Karnal to decide the future course of the movement.
The farmers march in Haryana was jointly led by Rattan Maan, Inderjit Singh, Sukhdev Jammu, Yudhvir Ahlawat, Jogender Nain, P Krishna Prasad, Mandeep Nathwan, Amarjeet Singh and Ishwar Singh Dahiya. Workers belonging to CITU also joined the protesters in solidarity.
Meanwhile, Kuldeep Singh Chahal, SSP Chandigarh said that they had made adequate arrangements for maintaining law and order in City. The borders from Panchkula and Mohali towards Chandigarh were sealed, and around 1500-2000 policemen were deployed.