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Bills passed by Punjab Assembly partial victory, fight will continue: Farmers

The 'Sanjha Morcha' comprising 30 farm organisation heads and members will be meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday to decide the next course of the protests and discuss the Bills passed in the Punjab Assembly.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | October 21, 2020 2:40:55 pm
Punjab Farm bills, Punjab farmers, Farmers on Farm bills, Punjab farmers protests, Amarinder singh, Punjab news, Indian expressBKU (Ugrahan) alone is continuing with dharnas at 62 places which include 38 petrol pumps of private companies, 10 toll plazas, three shopping malls -- one each at Bathinda, Amritsar and Fazilka.

After the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday passed four Bills to counter the three contentious farm laws of the Central government, the farmers’ organisations in Punjab said that Bills passed in Punjab Assembly was their ‘partial victory’ but the protests will continue till they do not win their direct fight with the Central government and three original ‘black laws’ aren’t rolled back at the Central level.

The ‘Sanjha Morcha’ comprising 30 farm organisation heads and members will be meeting in Chandigarh on Wednesday to decide the next course of the protests and discuss the Bills passed in the Punjab Assembly.

Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakonda), said that with the passing of four Bills, the Punjab government has taken a ‘daring step’ but it wasn’t enough till the Central government doesn’t roll back its three ‘black laws’. “The Punjab government has taken a daring step by introducing these four Bills today and it is a partial victory of farmers’ struggle. These Bills have been passed only due to the relentless protest by the farmers. But our fight has been directly with the Centre from the beginning. Protests will continue and to decide the next course of action, a meeting of 30 farm organisations will be held in Chandigarh on Wednesday. The four Bills passed today will also be discussed. We will also decide the outline of protests ahead. It is no more just about Punjab but farmers of the entire country and till three black laws passed at the Centre level aren’t rolled back, our struggle will continue,” he said.

Jagmohan Singh added that by passing three laws, the Central government did ‘triple murder’. “The Central government murdered the federal structure of our Constitution because agriculture is a state subject in the Indian Constitution. Secondly, it murdered farmers, farm labourers and all those small employees who depend on mandis for their livelihood. And thirdly, three laws aim to destroy Below Poverty Line (BPL) poor families who depend on the public distribution system (PDS) for two meals a day. Till these three black laws aren’t rolled back and removed from our constitutional system, farmers’ struggle will continue. With today’s Bills passed in Punjab Assembly, the Centre has been shown the power of Assemblies and federal structure has been restored,” said Jagmohan Singh, as the indefinite protests by farmers, including ‘Rail Roko’, entered 20th day on Tuesday.

He, however, said that the farmers are still unaware of the Constitutional future of these four Bills passed by Punjab Assembly. “It is all uncertain as of now. We do not know if the Governor will sign them or not and maybe he can also send it to the President of India for his comments and these Bills may hang fire again. It is only if farmers continue protests that the Governor will be under pressure to sign the Bills and also Centre will roll back three original laws. So there is no question as of now of ending the protests,” he said.

However, Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), said that they cannot comment on four Bills passed by Punjab Assembly without studying its contents. “We will not give any comment in haste. We are yet to study the contents of all four Bills. Our union had already withdrawn Rail Roko protests and vacated railway tracks because it was affecting the common public but our protests outside residences of BJP leaders and corporate offices will continue. First we will study the contents of the Bills and then only take a call if protests will end. We are yet to receive an invite for a collective meeting of farm unions scheduled in Chandigarh for Wednesday and we will attend only if an invite comes.”

BKU Rajewal president Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “We are yet to thoroughly read the Bills brought by the state government. It is only after going through its contents that we can make any comment. Also, we will take a decision after the joint meeting of 30 farm organisations on Wednesday.”

Harmeet Singh Kadian, president, BKU (Kadian), said that with the four Bills passed by the Punjab Assembly, the farmers’ struggle has got the much-needed ‘moral support and boost’ to take their fight ahead against the Central government. “We will take this fight ahead to Delhi against the Central government and won’t stop till three original laws passed by the Centre aren’t rolled back. Today’s Bills have shown the constitutional power of state Assemblies to the Central government. This is the fight of each farmer and farm woman who have been sitting on protests for 20 days and we will decide the next outline of protests in the joint meeting on Wednesday. Our aim is to get a minimum support price (MSP) declared for each crop that is produced by the farmers, even those for which the government doesn’t declare MSP yet,” Kadian said.

Sources, however, said that with CM Amarinder Singh appealing to farmers to discontinue Rail Roko agitation and vacate railway tracks to resume transportation of essentials, farmers are likely to ease the agitation after a joint meeting on Wednesday.

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