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'Rail roko' protest: Train movement hit in Punjab as farmers squat on tracks

Chandigarh, Mar 10 (PTI) Movement of several trains was affected in Punjab on Sunday after agitating farmers squatted on tracks at many places in the state as part of a nationwide 'rail roko' protest.

Chandigarh, Mar 10 (PTI) Movement of several trains was affected in Punjab on Sunday after agitating farmers squatted on tracks at many places in the state as part of a nationwide 'rail roko' protest.

The protest, called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha to press the Centre to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP), was held from 12 noon till 4 pm.

In Punjab, farmers sat on railway tracks at many locations in 22 districts, including Amritsar, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran, Hoshiarpur, Firozpur, Fazilka, Sangrur, Mansa, Moga and Bathinda. Because of the disruption of train services, passengers experienced inconvenience.

According to railway authorities, nine trains including Ferozepur to Bathinda, Jalandhar City to Hoshiarpur, and Jalandhar City to Pathankot were cancelled and many trains were either short-terminated or short-originated.

Farmer leaders Sarwan Singh Pandher and Jagjit Singh Dallewal claimed that their 'rail roko' agitation was successful.

'Till a concrete resolution is offered by the government to our demands, we will continue our struggle,' Pandher said.

They claimed that the 'rail roko' protest was held at 75 locations in Punjab, five in Haryana, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and 20 locations in Tamil Nadu.

During the protest, farmers raised slogans against the Centre for not accepting their demands.

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), BKU (Dakaunda-Dhaner) and Krantikari Kisan Union - farmer bodies that are part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) - also participated in the 'rail roko' agitation.

The SKM, which had spearheaded the farmers' 2020-21 agitation against the now-scrapped three central agri laws, is not part of the 'Delhi Chalo' protest but has extended its support to the ongoing farmers' agitation at Shambhu and Khanauri points on the Punjab-Haryana border.

In Ferozepur, Inderjit Singh Bath, district president of the Kisan Majdoor Sangharsh Committee, condemned the Haryana police action against farmers at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points.

Besides a legal guarantee of MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers and no hike in electricity tariff.

They are demanding the withdrawal of police cases and 'justice' for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and compensation to the families of farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

The protesting farmers from Punjab have been camping at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points since February 13, when security forces stopped them from marching towards Delhi.

The farmer leaders have rejected the Centre's proposal for procurement of pulses, maize and cotton at the MSP by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in farmers' favour. PTI CHS VSD RT RT RT

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