Chandigarh, February 18
Farmers on Thursday gathered near railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana for the ‘rail roko’ protest against the Centre’s new farm laws, with officials stopping trains at stations as a precautionary measure.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions which is spearheading the protest, last week had announced the nationwide rail blockade to press for its demand to repeal the legislations and had said that the agitation would be held from noon to 4 pm.
Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) members will block railway tracks at 22 places, including at Nabha, Mansa, Barnala, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Tarn Taran in Punjab, the organisation’s general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said.
Security had been tightened in both Haryana and Punjab with personnel of the Government Railway Police and the state police forces being deployed, officials said.
The Ferozepur division of the Northern Railways has decided to halt trains at stations so that passengers faceless inconvenience during the protest. The officials said movement of trains is likely to be delayed because of the farmers’ rail blockade. Train services would be resumed after following due security protocols once the agitation is over, they said.
In Haryana, besides railway police personnel, Haryana Police have deployed its staff in large numbers near the protest sites and at various railway stations. Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala Division, GM Singh, said that no train had been cancelled in view of the agitation.
In Bhiwani district, tracks would be blocked at four places, including at Siwani and Loharu, a farmer leader from the district said. In Ambala, farmers gathered near railway tracks at Shahpur village, about two kilometres from the Ambala Cantt railway station.
Four trains are scheduled to pass through Ambala between noon and 4 pm, railway officials said. Bhartiya Kisan Union leader from Ambala Gulab Singh Manakpur said the protest would be peaceful.
(Story sourced through agencies.)