The methods being adopted by protesting farmer unions have come under criticism from locals, with several videos doing the rounds on social media highlighting the alleged highhandedness of the unions.
A video on WhatsApp purportedly showed a milkman being beaten in Barnala district by protesting farmers while he was on the way to sell his milk door to door in the city. The milk, which he had purchased from a farmer, was also thrown on the road.
“Farmers can stop selling their own product during this protest but they have no right to beat anybody like this,” said a dairy owner, Malkiat Singh, adding that “if farmers can sell their milk to milkmen then why can’t a milkman can sell that to people… Is this not double standards of the farmers?”
Gurmukh Singh Dod, executive member of Kapurthala Cycling Club and an active member of Punjab Kala Manch, said that while he supported farmer’s protest, he was against throwing of milk and vegetables on roads. “Their fight is against government and middlemen, who are making huge profits from their produce, and they should restrict to that only instead creating problems for poor vendors and public,” he said.
Calling the protest tactics a criminal waste by farmers, a resident of Guru Gobind Singh Avenue, V K Sharma said: “We went to vegetable market today where farmers were throwing vegetables which were purchased by the vendors from villages….We understand the problems of farmers but now they are behaving like goons and harassing poor vendors who were literally pleading for mercy…”
Kuldip Singh, a milkman, said: “Before starting their protest, they had said that they will not supply vegetables and milk to city areas, but people can come to villages to purchase from them in their villages. Now, when milkmen are purchasing from them in the villages even then the farmers are throwing the milk on roads indulging in hooliganism and causing loss to them…”