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Railway alert to zone offices: Farm unions united, stir may intensify

The letter asks the zones to take extra precautionary measures against possible untoward incidents, acts of violence and to ensure no disruption to railway services.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: December 12, 2020 7:48:04 am
Farm bills, farmers protest, new delhi railways, railways alert to zone officials, farmers protest news, indian express newsArun Kumar, DG RPF, could not be contacted. (File)

In view of the palpable aggressive posturing of farmer leaders on their core demands, expression of solidarity from various sections of society, and further intensification of protests in the coming days, farmers and their supporters… may attempt to resort to road and rail blockades.

Protesting farmer unions are united and emboldened by the claimed success of their “Bharat Bandh”, political support from different political parties, non-farming organisations, Left pressure groups and others. However, they had been making conscious efforts to keep their agitations peaceful.

Protesting farmers’ unions were resolute to intensify their stir if their core demands were not considered through resumption of talks; a prolonged agitation may give opportunities to other non-farming entities to get associated with protest.

Read| Centre appeal to farmers: No ego, willing to talk, end stir

THESE ARE the messages sent by the Railway Ministry on Friday in a confidential letter to its zone offices across the country, cautioning them of the need to protect railway property in the face of the farmers’ protests. The tone and tenor of the letter betrays how the ongoing agitation has registered with one of the largest Central government apparatus like the Railways, which recently resumed operations after an unprecedented two-month suspension of all train services in Punjab.

The letter, sent by the Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in New Delhi, says the protesting farmers “continue to get solidarity support from non-farming organisations, Left pressure groups and Opposition political parties”.

“Another input received indicates that leaders of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha threatened to further intensify their agitation by blocking railway tracks nationwide (date to be announced later) on the lines of earlier such protests in Punjab. Meanwhile, protesting farmer unions continue to get solidarity support from non-farming organisations, Left pressure groups and Opposition political parties,” it says.

Also Read| New convoy of over 1,500 vehicles makes way from Punjab to Delhi

Arun Kumar, DG RPF, could not be contacted.

The letter also quotes the press conference held by farmer unions and their inability to agree to the government’s demands on the three contentious farm-sector laws.

It also mentions a press release by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). “SCBA expressed dismay over alleged use of force to stop peaceful protests and stated that preventing farmers from holding peaceful protests for their rights was a case in point,” the letter says. “Leaders of political parties like NCP and RJD decided to continue support to the farmers’ cause.”

The letter says that movement of farmers, in smaller numbers, from Faridkot, Ropar, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar and Patiala to participate in the ongoing agitation in Delhi was noticed. “Sarwan Singh Pandher, General Secretary, Kisan Mazdoor, Sangharsh Committee in a video message disclosed that KSMC would send its jathas for participation in Delhi agitation on December 11,” it says.

The letter tells the zone offices that proper contingency measures and advanced planning would be required to ensure no disruption in transport services. It asks them to take help of all available agencies and state intelligence services and local police to protect railway property.

The letter asks the zones to take extra precautionary measures against possible untoward incidents, acts of violence and to ensure no disruption to railway services.

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