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BKU Ugrahan lifts gherao of DC offices after Punjab CM invites farmers for talks

Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU -Ugrahan said, "We have lifted the gherao of the office gates for now but dharnas will continue till December 24.

Ludhiana |
Updated: December 22, 2021 10:48:02 am
Main entrance of the DC office blocked by the protesting women members of the BKU Ugrahan at Mini Secretariat in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Dozens of members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU)-Ugrahan on Tuesday afternoon gheraoed the gates of DC offices in 13 districts of Punjab, leading to administrative work being hit and staff at the DC office being forced to walk in and out of the premises on foot.

On Monday, BKU Ugrahan, the largest farmer union of Punjab, had started day-night dharnas outside DC offices in 13 districts of Punjab from December 20-24 to pressurise the state government into fulfilling their pending demands. By Tuesday evening, however, the gherao was lifted with the Punjab Chief Minister’s office extending an invitation to the protesters to come for talks on December 23 at 9.30am.

Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU -Ugrahan said, “We have lifted the gherao of the office gates for now but dharnas will continue till December 24. We have got an invitation for a meeting with CM Charanjit Singh Channi on December 23 after which we decided to suspend the gherao of the gates.”

On Tuesday in Ludhiana, women and physically challenged staff employed at the district DC’s office were allowed to leave their offices by 5 pm from the main gate, while the rest of the employees were forced to use the smaller gates on the backside to get out, sources said.

Varinder Kumar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, however, said,” I went out through the main gate. The farmers were sitting near the gate, but they did not stop me. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

In Mansa, Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Pal said, “Protesters had started making announcements by the afternoon that they will be gheraoing all the gates of the mini secretariat and hence employees were told to leave the office early to avoid any inconvenience. Some public work did get affected as the employees had to leave early.”

At Barnala, sources said, employees working at the mini-secretariat were forced to park their vehicles a little distance away from their offices and walk as the farmers refused to let them through to the campus.

Joginder Singh, a member of BKU-Ugrahan said, “Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi had previously given us time for a meeting on December 16, which he later cancelled. On Tuesday evening, he again sent a missive asking us to meet on December 23 only after he came to know of our gherao. Why can’t the official machinery wake up on its own? “.

In Patiala, woman leader Gurpreet Kaur Brass was the main speaker to the crowd that had congregated outside the main gate of the DC office.

Though BKU members had stopped gheraoing the gates of DC complexes by late evening, they had come prepared to stay the night if needed. The union members had made arrangements for langar and even beddings for any employee who got stuck inside the DC offices. However, after the invitation for talks from the CM’s office came, all employees were allowed to leave the campus by the farmers.

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