Six months into the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) rule in Punjab, various agitations have broken out across the state even as the party claims to be satisfied with its performance. Sunday too saw several protests at places including Barnala, Ferozepur, Ludhiana and Patiala.
The Vangar rally at Barnala Chowk saw protesters raising their voice against the lathi charging of assistant professors who were given jobs in government colleges by the previous Congress government in December last year, but their selection process was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 9 this year. A total of 1,158 people have been affected by the high court order.
The aggrieved persons had been seeking a panel meeting with higher education minister and Barnala MLA Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer for more than a month and marched to his Barnala residence on September 19 when they were lathi-charged by the police. “Till now, the minister has not met the teachers. This shows their arrogance. Hence we organised the Vangar rally. Next, a Punjab-level rally will be planned for which we will be finalising the date and venue soon,” said Narian Dutt, of Inqlaabi Kendra which had extended support to the protest along with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Dakaunda.
In Ferozepur district’s Zira Assembly constituency, the Sanjha Zira Morcha organised a tractor and motorcycle rally to announce a mega protest on October 3 outside the Malbros International Pvt Ltd liquor factory in Mansurwal village. Protesters had been sitting outside the factory since July 24 with allegations that it flouted pollution norms and exploited ground water. The stir began after villagers found polluted water while digging a borewell at a gurdwara in Maiyan Wala village.
“As the ruling AAP government is mum over this factory, owned by former SAD MLA Deep Malhotra, this is a people’s movement against the government as well as the owner of the factory. We want the factory to be sealed, though it is already closed temporarily,” said Gurpreet Singh Chandbaja of Bhai Ghaniya Cancer Roko Society. Sunday’s rally saw huge response and extended over 23 km as people from all walks participated, said Roman Brar, convenor of Sanjha Zira Morcha.
In Ludhiana, a protest was organised against the installation of an effluent treatment plant (ETP) for dairies located in the Haibowal area. Organised by a public action committee (PAC) and Changemakers and Whistleblowers Association, the protest sought to shift the dairies out of the city rather than installing an ETP at the location. “This will not solve the problem, hence we need a long-term solution for the pollution,” said Kapil Arora, a PAC member.
A dharna by unemployed individuals seeking jobs as linemen entered its sixth day in Patiala as part of which agitators have been protesting atop an electricity tower. In the Chief Minister’s constituency of Dhuri, farmers under the banner of Ganna Sangarsh Committee have been sitting on a dharna at the Bhagwanpura sugar mill since September 20 demanding that pending payments be completed by the mill owner.