Farmers of Punjab and Haryana have been organizing protest actions to assert their claims.
Nineteen kisan organisations of Punjab organised a three day rail roko protest from September 28 to September 30. They are demanding compensation for losses caused by recent floods, a legal guarantee to minimum support price (MSP) and debt waiver.
The call for the protest had been given a month earlier. The agitating farmers also demanded action against Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, the main accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of 2021, which killed four farmers. Sarwan Singh Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee said “If anyone tries to be unfair with the farmers of Punjab, then farmers from Haryana will also join Punjab farmers. Farmers are united throughout the country.”
On September 30, kisan organisations of Haryana organised a 4 hour rail roko of the Ambala – Rajpura Section of the Indian railways in support of the Punjab farmers.
The farmers gathered near the Shambhu toll plaza and then moved towards the railway track through Ghel village. Women farm activists from Patiala also joined the protest here.
BKU (Shaheed Bhagat Singh) leader Tejveer Singh said, “The farmers kept the railway track blocked for nearly 4 hours in support of farmers in Punjab. The second phase of the farm agitation has started and the government will have to pay a price if the demands are not met. A sense of resentment is brewing and the farm unions will soon move towards Delhi.”
The three-day ‘rail roko’ protest by kisan unions concluded with the protesters lifting their protest from the railways tracks at Devidaspura village in Amritsar District on the evening of September 30.
The kisan unions announced that they would organise Kisan Dasshehra on October 23-24 as part of the next phase of protests. Effigies of the Union Government and corporate houses would be burnt on these days to express their dissatisfaction with the government policies.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said, “Pro-corporate governments are trying to hand over begging bowls to farmers. We broke these bowls to show to the government that we would not become beggars and instead fight to get our rights.” A legal guarantee for MSP was a long-pending demand of farmers as prices of most crops was decided by private buyers. “The government announces the MSP for over two dozen crops, but practically in the state, it is available on only two crops — rice and wheat. If there is a legal guarantee for MSP, we would be able to get MSP on all crops on which it is announced”, he said.
Meanwhile, farmers of Haryana began a padayatra from Hissar to Chandigarh seeking compensation for crop loss due to floods, deficient rain, and pest attacks.
A farmer activist said “We got partial success after staging a dharna for four months in Hisar. Now, we are heading to Chandigarh to highlight plight of farmers. We will start a ‘pucca morcha’ in Chandigarh until the demands of the farmers are fulfilled.” The farmers are fighting under the banner of Pagri Sambhal Jatta (PSJ).
The farmers said the insurance company was reluctant to release claims worth Rs 700 crore for 2021 and 2022. After the PSJ began a dharna in Hissar on May 26, the government intervened and the insurance firm had to release claims worth about Rs 400 crore. The claims of farmers of 67 villages were still pending.
In Karnal District, farmers locked up the grain mandis of Taraori and Nigdhu in protest against the slow pace of paddy procurement.