Farmers protest outside BJP leaders’ offices, homes

‘Sampoorna Kranti Diwas’ marked the day controversial farm laws were promulgated as Ordinances in 2020

Farmers burnt copies of the Centre’s farm laws outside the residences and offices of leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in various States on Saturday, observing a nationwide ‘Sampoorna Kranti Diwas’ to mark the day when these laws were promulgated as Ordinances in 2020.

Shouting anti-BJP slogans, groups of farmers were seen holding demonstrations and burning copies of the farm laws outside or near residences and offices of leaders of the BJP and its political alliance partners in much of Punjab and Haryana. The demonstrations were held on the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the ongoing farmers’ protests.

Demonstrations were also staged in other States, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, according to the SKM.

In Haryana’s Panchkula, after they were stopped in their march towards Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta’s residence, members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union blocked the Kalka-Zirakpur Road. The police later cane-charged the agitated protesters to clear the road. At Hisar, farmers protested near the residence of Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala.

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At Tohana in Fatehabad, Haryana, scores of farmers led by Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni and Yogendra Yadav gathered to “court arrest” in protest against the Haryana government’s arrest of farmers following a recent spat with Tohana MLA Devender Babli. Amid the raging controversy, Mr. Babli, in a video statement about the incident on June 1 in Tohana, said, “I am a public representative and I uttered certain words that were inappropriate. I take my words back.”

The SKM, however, said that on June 7, a sit-in (dharna) would be held in front of all the police stations across Haryana if the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government did not withdraw the cases filed against farmers.

“His [Devender Babli’s] apology is one thing, but unless farmers who have been arrested are not released, we will not relent. The agitation will only intensify,” senior SKM leader Darshan Pal told The Hindu.

Farmers associated with Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee (KMSC), a prominent outfit at the forefront of the ongoing agitation, burnt copies of the farm laws in 11 districts of Punjab, primarily in the Majha and Doaba region, while Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) members burnt copies at around 50 places across 15 districts of Punjab, according to Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, BKU (U).

Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the KMSC in Amritsar, accused the BJP of imposing a “pro-corporate agenda” on farmers and labourers. “We held the first dharna against the farm Ordinances on June 8, 2020. The entire country has come together and is raising voice against the farm laws, yet the BJP government continues to be indifferent to the miseries of the farming community. These laws will destroy farming and farmers,” he said.

“In many places across the country, houses and offices of BJP leaders were gheraoed. This happened not just in states adjacent to Delhi but in Karnataka and other states as well. At several places, protests were held at government offices and demand memorandums were submitted to government officials. Saplings were planted at several places to mark World Environment Day,” said the SKM statement.

Scores of farmers have been camping for months now at several places at Delhi’s borders, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws.

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