Punjab’s Majha region saw a successful response Punjab bandh call by farmers in all districts except in BJP-dominated Pathankot.Unlike Amritsar, Batala, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur, businesses did not come to a halt in Pathankot.
While Jamhoori Kisan Sabha protested near the office of Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol in Pathankot, markets of the city remained open.
Shiv Kumar, a farmer leader, said, “We had never expected to shut down the Pathankot city completely. But we have got better response this time in the entire Pathankot area. Around eight dharnas has been organised in Pathankot in protest against farm Bills.”
“BJP’s Hindutva plus nationalism politics works in Pathankot and Hoshiarpur district to some extent. But now farmers are understanding that their own agenda is more important and more and more farmers have been coming to support us in protest against farm Bills,” said Shiv Kumar.
The president of Congress-associated Punjab Rajput Sabha, Darshan Dardi, said, “It is not that Rajput farmers are not against farm Bills. They are against Bills. But you can’t judge it from Pathankot city which has BJP support.”
Rajput community had reacted sharply in Pathankot against release of Padmavat movie in which it was alleged that Rajput history was shown in poor light.
Dardi said, “Farmers have protested in villages and on the road. Every issue has its own intensity.”
However, farmer unions were successful in a shutting down rest of the Majha region. Shiromani Akali Dal also held separate protests. However, attendance in SAD protests at many places was low.
Interestingly, some Sikh preachers and Dhadi Jathas (Sikh folklore singing) were also seen attending protest dharnas.
Dal Khalsa joins protest
Separatist political party Dal Khalsa along with other hardline Sikh bodies urged President Ram Nath Kovind not sign the Bills.
Joining the protesting farmers at Bhandari bridge, party spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh said the Bills once become laws would not only ruin farmer’s lives but also have an adverse effect on Punjab’s economy. He said the President must take into account the anger and concerns of the people of Punjab against the Bills before signing it.
He said, “Shame the Akalis for still continuing its alliance with the BJP.”
Protesting leaders, including Akal Federation head Narien Singh and SAD (Democratic) Jasbir Singh Ghuman, asked the Punjab CM to explore legal options and convene the one-day Assembly session and adopt a resolution declaring that Punjab won’t implement these black laws in the state. Activists of Sikh Youth Punjab also raised slogans terming the BJP government as fascist.
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