Eight farmer unions and four farm labour organisations staged dharnas outside the residences of SAD ministers at several places in Punjab to press for more compensation for cotton crop loss and other demands. The dharnas came amid road blockades over the desecration row in the state .
More than 800 farmers were rounded up from various locations but were released by late evening. The dharnas were lifted after that.
Some farmers, including Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) president Buta Singh, Chamkaur Singh, Puran Singh Doda and other, were taken into custody late Thursday night itself.
Farmers gheraoed the houses of Revenue Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia in Amritsar and food and civil supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon at Tarn Taran.
The farmers were, however, not allowed to move towards village Badal to gherao the house of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. More than 250 of them were detained while the rest squatted by the roadside of village Mithri and Channu to protest.
The protest was announced on October 13 itself — after the talks between the farmers and the government had failed a day before.
Around 350 farmers were rounded up in Barnala and not allowed to stage dharna in front of the house of SAD MLA Balvir Singh Ghunnas.
Likewise, at Sardulgarh, more than 120 farmers were arrested before they could reach the house of Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder.
In Bathinda, more than 250 farmers were detained when they tried to gherao the house of MLA Sikander Singh Maluka. Some farmers staged dharnas at village Kotha Guru and Nandgarh to lodge their protest.
Houses of Ministers Parminder Singh Dhindsa at Sangrur, Surjit Singh Rakhra at Patiala, Ajit Singh Kohar at Jalandhar, MLAs Chattin Singh Samao and Prem Mittal at Mansa were gheraoed for a few hours.
Police had set up nakas at various places to prevent protesting farmers from reaching the houses of the MLAs and Ministers.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan) said, “The next meeting will be held on October 26 to decide the further course of action.” The farmers are demanding Rs 40,000 per acre damage of cotton relief, he said.
Earlier this month, the farmers had launched a ‘Rail Roko’ agitation to demand for higher compensation. Initially, the agitation was for two days, October 7-8, but continued till October 12. They called off their rail blockade agitation on October 13, but decided to gherao all state ministers, SAD MLAs, other party leaders.