Amritsar farmers to end railway blockade after 169 days of protest

KMSC leaders said they may resume protests after harvest season, even though all other farmer unions have ceased railway dharnas.

farmers protest

In view of the approaching harvest season and losses in local trade business, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) on March 11, 2021 temporarily suspended the railway track dharna in Amritsar district of Punjab.

According to the Hindustan Times, farmers were demonstrating against the three farm laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – at the Davidaspura village near Jandiala station for 169 days.

Protesters blocked passenger and goods trains between Amritsar and Beas, affecting around 60 percent of railway traffic from Amritsar. In November, they allowed goods trains to continue, however railways still failed to resume operations of any of the trains through the station and diverted the route from Beas. Trains reached Amritsar via Tarn Taran Sahib city. This affected local trade in the area.

Further, farmers had to return to their fields to transport crops during harvest season. Accordingly, KMSC General Secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher told the Indian Express that organisations would instead work towards strengthening the ongoing protest at Delhi borders.

“We will wait and watch. If the government doesn’t react positively to our demands, the dharna can resume,” he said.

The KMSC was the last group blocking the path of passenger trains. All other farmer unions ended their railway track dharnas in November. Recently, the KMSC made arrangements for cold water and fans at Delhi borders to deal with the summer heat. Leaders also told farmers to keep fire extinguishers in each shelter to avoid any mishap.

“We have also installed nets in trolleys to keep mosquitoes away. Special arrangements have been made for water and fire extinguishers. Special care has been taken to ensure cleanliness,” said Pandher.

Meanwhile, in another part of Punjab, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) State Council held a meeting and press conference in Jalandhar district on Thursday. AIKS State President Gurchetan Singh Bassi and 35 members attended the event where State General Secretary Major Singh Punnewal placed the agenda.

Similarly, AIKS President Ashok Dhawale talked about the current situation of the farmers’ struggle, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) decisions for future actions and farmer decisions to strengthen both the movement and organisation. State Vice President Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon focused on the implementation of these actions in Punjab.


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