Amid slogans like “Jis Da Naam Modi Hai Oh Desh Virodhi hai” (the one whose name is Modi, he is anti-national) and massive gatherings, the Punjab bandh saw a complete shutdown in the state’s Doaba region from morning till evening on a call given by 31 farmer orgnisations. Barring a few incidents of heated arguments, the protest remained peaceful. The Union government remained the main target and protesters, who said they were ready for a long battle.
Farmers started hitting the roads in huge number in the morning itself and there was a dharna at every 200 metres in all the four districts of the region — Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur. Large number of youths participated in all these dharnas mainly at Phagwara and Jalandhar.
There were dharnas on all national, state highways and city roads. Only emergency vehicles were plying.
All political parties and people from all walks of life also extended their support to farmers’ protest through separate dharnas.
Akali Dal staged six dharnas in Jalandhar at various places including at Ramamandi Chowk, Lidran Ravidas Chowk. In Ramanadi, several SAD leaders were seen sitting on chairs during the dharna. BSP staged a dharna at Pathankot Chowk.
In Jalandhar, MLAs of the ruling Congress, including Pargat Singh, AAP and BSP leaders protested at PAP on the National Highway, while protests were also held in different Assembly segments.
SAD leader, including former MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar, when came to the PAP dharna, which was bigger than the SAD dharna at Ramamandi, farmers started shouting slogans against Makkar, SAD and Modi. Makkar quickly left the venue.
Similar opposition was faced by Congress MLA Surinder Chaudhary in Lambra at the hands of farmers.
In Doaba, farmer leaders like Satnam Singh Sahni, Manjit Singh Rai, Amrik Singh Santokh Singh of various groups of Bharti Kisan Unions were leading the protests.
The protestors said that it is a do-or-die battle and farmers will not stop this time unless these farm Bills were not cancelled by the central government.
“How can Modi betray the ‘anndata’ (food provider) like this. He will either have to mend his way or pay a heavy price for this,” said a protesting farmer, Ujgar Singh, at PAP chowk.
The protesting youths were hyperactive and they said that they will not let the farmers and the elders of their families humiliated like this. “If we can make governments we can break them too,” said a youth protestor in Phagwara, Gaganjot Singh.
Heavy police force was deployed at every nook and corner and all senior police officers from Jalandhar and other parts of Doaba were keeping a close watch on the situation. Fire tenders were also ready at the major protest sites to help farmers.
In Phagwara, Congress leader and former minister, Joginder Singh Mann also protested along with the farmers.
In Mukerian, several BJP supporters were on the road against Modi.
Every common people expressed their support for farmers openly.
“We are with the farmers even if they block the roads or given a bandh call. If we can survive during complete lockdown for months, we can also survive in the farmers’ protest as their demands are genuine and if the farmer survives only then will we,” said Satish Kumar, a grocery shop owner in Jalandhar’s Kishanpura Chowk area.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines