Major actions are being planned in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
More than 600 farmers groups opposed to the Centre’s three new agricultural reform laws plan to block traffic on roads and highways between noon and 4 p.m. on Thursday in a “chakka jam” protest action. Although it is meant to be a nationwide protest, the spread may be patchy with many farmers busy with sowing activities. Farm leaders say major actions are being planned in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
“Farmers will sit on the streets and protest peacefully to express their anger against these anti-farmer laws, and demand that the Central government repeal these laws,” said Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, who is part of the coordination committee planning the protests. “There are no blockades being planned in Delhi tomorrow. Although the Grand Trunk Road will be blocked within Haryana, there will be no blockade along Delhi borders. However, this is all in preparation for the Dilli Chalo event on November 26 and 27, when farmers will stage a protest in the capital,” he added.
At a time when the Punjab government is engaged in a stand-off with the Centre over the ban on goods trains entering the State, ostensibly due to farmer sit-ins at railway lines and stations, farmer leaders emphasised that there would be no rail blockade during Thursday’s protest. Strict instructions have also been sent to allow safe passage to ambulances, other emergency vehicles, and those carrying senior citizens.
“The demand is national, but the actions are localised,” said Kavitha Kruganti, a convenor of the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture, who is coordinating protests in several southern States. “The joint protests bringing together different groups show that farmers are united in the struggle. We are also forcing more State governments and regional political parties to respond to farmers’ demands at their own level,” she added.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Bharatiya Kisan Union and Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh are some of the major federations who will participate in the protest.