Chandigarh: Agitating farmers in Punjab have decided to suspend the “rail roko” part of their protest until 4 November, in response to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s appeal to allow goods trains to run in the state.
The conglomerate of 31 farmer unions met here Wednesday evening under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which has been spearheading the protest for the past two months against the three farm Acts brought in by the Narendra Modi government.
The farmers said while they would allow goods trains to pass, passenger trains would not be allowed.
The farmer unions have also decided to intensify their stir against BJP leaders besides continuing with their sit-in dharnas at the various toll plazas in the state.
“We will be burning the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Dussehra. The focus of our agitation will now shift towards gheraoing BJP leaders and agitating outside their houses,” Dr Darshan Pal, the convener of the committee, told ThePrint.
He added that the farmer unions were unanimous in their decision to suspend the rail roko until 4 November, when another meeting of the committee would take place and decide a further course of action.
Dharna to continue outside Reliance stores
Apart from intensifying the protest against the BJP and its leaders, Pal said, the farmer unions have also decided to continue with their dharnas outside Reliance stores and petrol stations.
“It was also decided in the meeting that not a single grain of wheat stored in the silos of the Adanis in Moga will be allowed to be transported by the company,” Pal said. “Farmers sitting at the site will make sure that FCI or whoever has stored wheat in the silos will not be allowed to take it out.”
The unions have also decided that the coordination committee will seek legal opinion about the four bills passed by the Punjab Assembly Tuesday.
“The gesture of the government is positive and well-intentioned. The fact that the entire political class came together to support the farmers is historic in itself,” Pal said. “However, how effective these bills are to counter the central Acts remains to be seen.”
Cabinet ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhjinder Randhawa along with MLA Kuljit Nagra met the committee members Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh welcomed the unions’ decision to allow movement of goods trains, saying it was in the interest of the state’s economy and its revival.
Thanking the farmer unions for heeding his appeal, the chief minister said the farmers had shown their love and concern for the people of Punjab with this move, as it will allow the state to get much-needed coal supplies.
He pointed out that the people of Punjab had been facing a total power shutdown as a result of coal shortage due to the blockade, and the decision of the unions had come as a major relief to them.