Day 5 of Farmers Protest: BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) holds sit-in protests outside houses of 3 Punjab BJP leaders, farmer leader Pandher demands Ordinance on MSP

State repressive actions against protestors intensify as almost hundred farmers arrested in Tamil Nadu, UP invokes ESMA to ban strikes for 6 months in the state
Image Courtesy: Times of India

As the farmers ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest enters its fifth day, and farmers are forced to stay confined at the two border points of Punjab and Haryana, namely the Shambhu and the Khanauri border points, and face water cannons and rubber pellets, news has emerged that the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has decided to intensify their agitation further in coming days.

As per a report of the Indian Express, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) are now holding protests outside the residences of three senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the state of Punjab. A two-day dharna, starting February 17, will be held outside the house of BJP Punjab president Sunil Jakhar in Fazilka’s Panjkosi village. In addition to this, protests were also launched outside the houses of BJP leaders Captain Amarinder Singh in Patiala and Kewal Dhillon in Barnala.  These protests will be against the state brutality being shown to the farmers at the Shambu border, where many farmers have sustained serious injuries and one had died, as well as in support of the various demands being raised by them, including a legal guarantee for MSP.

In addition to these three sit-in protests, the union has also stated that they will be holding protests at toll plazas in the state as their extension of support to the “Delhi Chalo” call.

Meanwhile, the state is also intensifying their already excessive actions of suppression.

As per a report of the Hindustan Times, around 100 farmers from different farmers associations were arrested at Thanjavur Railway station, Tamil Nadu on the morning of February 17 as they tried to stage a ‘rail roko’ protest in front of the Cholan Express. The ‘rail roko’ protest is also in solidarity with the farmers’ agitation in New Delhi and against the police action by Haryana Police.

In addition to this, on February 16, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and banned any strikes by government employees in all State government departments, corporations, and authorities for a period of six months. The said decision is another state tactic to repress dissent. Notably, ESMA gives the police the power to arrest any such employees found to be violating provisions and conducting strikes without a warrant and imprisonment for a term which may extend up to one year or a fine which may extend to ₹1,000 or both, to any person who instigated a strike which was illegal under the Act.

On the other hand, Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher has raised a demand for the union government to bring an Ordinance on giving a legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP). The demand comes a day before the fourth round of talks between farm leaders and Union ministers over their various demands.

As per the report of the PTI, Pandher pointed to the power that the union government hold in taking “political” decisions and said, “If it (Centre) brings an ordinance and it can bring it overnight, if it wants so. If the government wants resolution of farmers’ protest, then it should bring out an ordinance with an immediate effect that it will enact a law on MSP, then discussion can proceed further.”



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Day 3 of Farmers’ Protest: More than 100 farmers injured by rubber bullets, solidarity protests by BKU and SKM in Punjab

Farmers Protest: Braving tear gas, blockades, state obstructions, farmers journey towards Delhi to demand law on MSP

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