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India: Punjab – 600 Arrested in Government Crackdown on Farmers Protests in Punjab

SALUTE THE HEROIC AND RESOLUTE RESISTANCE OF PEASANT ORGANIZATIONS AND CONDEMN THE STATE GOVT FOR SUPRESSING THE AGITATION.

MAY THE PEASANTS OF PUNJAB STAND LIKE A BOULDER AGAINST THE STRONGEST OF GALES AND CREATE THE IMPACT OF A TORRENT.

MAY THEY TURN A CANDLE LIGHT INTO A BONFIRE.TRIBUTE TO WORK OF ORGANIZED MOVEMENT.

NO BETTER ILLUSTRATION FOR HOW UNDEMOCRATICALLY PEOPLES MOVEMENTS ARE TRAMPLED UPON IN SUPRESSING OF CHANDIGARH PROTEST.

The true colours of the Punjab government is expressed in the manner in which they have arrested the leaders of peasant organizations of the landed peasantry.

It has deployed it’s utmost energy in foiling the agitation of 7 peasant organizations in Chandigarh on September 5th.

Particularly forces of the youth of BKU(Ugarahan ) made meticulous preparations and youth rallies were stage all over Punjab.

It was also significant that so many peasant groups were jointly protesting.

Commendable preparatory work also by B.K.U-Dakaunda faction.

All democrats must staunchly support the peasant organization sin defying the barricade in the venue in Chandigarh and the posts blocking their entry.

The B.K.U Ugrahan leaders are still optimistic in it’s success.

The protest is a continuation of the 50 day protest in Bathinda which was eventually foiled and the districtwide 3 day stir at the end of July.

No organization in recent years has made such a contribution in democratic movement of Punjab as B.K.U(Ugrahan)Yesterday in almost all districts of Punjab protest actions were launched like wildfire.

It spoke volumes of the intensity of struggle and preparations of organized movement. tribune NEWS Chandigarh/Moga, Sept 3 Two days before the start of a “pakka morcha” (indefinite protest) in Chandigarh, the police started a statewide crackdown on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday and arrested more than 20 farmer leaders.

Seven farmer organisations had given a joint call to start the “pakka morcha” at Matka Chowk from Monday.

“Whatever repressive action the government may resort to, we will hold the protest,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokri, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan).

The raids were conducted all over Punjab, but a majority of the leadership went underground as a precautionary measure. Kokri said leaders were arrested in Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot, Ludhiana and Patiala districts.

He claimed that those arrested included Shinder Singh Nathuwala, state president of the BKU (Krantikari); Satbir Singh, general secretary of the Kirti Kisan Union; Karamjit Singh Talwandi of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee; and Darshan Singh, district president of the Ludhiana unit of the BKU.

He said the police also scaled the walls of the houses of two farmer leaders — Kuldeep Kaur Kussa and Sukhdeep Kaur — in Bathinda to arrest them.

However, the protest by villagers preveted their arrest.

In Patiala, the police raided the residences of leaders of the BKU (Dakaunda) and arrested nine leaders. BKU (Dakaunda) state general secretary Jagmohan Singh condemned the action.
The organisations are demanding the waiver of private and government loans outstanding against farmers and labourers, Rs 5 lakh compensation to families of suicide victims and government job for one of their kin and new tubewell connections with the installation cost.

They are also demanding land ownership rights for cultivators. POLICE REPRESSION ON RALLY Farmer unions on September 5th announced that their protest would continue at about 16 places in the state after the Punjab Police prevented the protesters from reaching the state capital for launching a ‘pucca morcha’ (indefinite protest).

The unions claimed that about 600 members of various farmer organisations were arrested or rounded up in the police crackdown in various districts.

A joint front of seven organisations had given a call to begin an indefinite protest against the state government at Chandigarh’s Matka Chowk.

In a statement, Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu of Kisan Sangharsh Committee said,“The farmers will keep protesting. They will not return home.”

They claimed that around 6,000 farmers were staging a protest at Ranghrial and Khiala Kalan villages in Mansa; Jethuke, Dhapali and Tungwali villages in Bathinda; Fatehgarh Chhanna in Barnala; Gharachon and Balad Kalan in Sangrur; Kishanpur and Dhudhike in Moga; Manawala in Amritsar; and Paharpur in Patiala and Chhateana in Muktsar.

Criticising the cane charge on protesters in Moga district, the leaders alleged that at least 50 farmers were injured in the police action.

Meanwhile, at least 44 farmers were taken into custody by the Moga police from the Moga-Ludhiana national highway near new Chuhar Chak village when they were on the way to Chandigarh.

SSP Sneh Deep Sharma said all farmers belonged to various villages of Faridkot district. They were taken to the Mehna police station as a preventive measure.

Another group of farmers gathered at Kishanpura village to jointly leave for Chandigarh but the Moga police stopped them from moving out of the village.

Agitated over police action, the farmers blocked the Ferozepur-Ludhiana road in the village and raised slogans against the SAD-BJP government.

The villagers, on the persuasion of the district administration, lifted the blockade in the evening and sat inside a village gurdwara to protest.

INDIA: HARSH THAKOR SAY SALUTE HEROIC 3 DAY PROTEST OF AGRICULTURAL WORKERS ALL OVER PUNJAB RADIATING THE FLAME OF RESISTANCE AGAINST OPPRESSION

A heartening protest was held over 16 districts of Punjab highlighting the general demands of agricultural labourers by organizations of landless labour .

The same demands raised in the assembly in Chandigarh earlier in March this year were raised.

There was maximum participation in town of Bathinda and Sangrur.

Also good participation in Jalandhar and Muktsar

Landless labourers assembled outside the district administration offices.

What was remarkable was that thousands of women even participated.

In Bathinda around 700 assembled while in Sangrur around 900.

Overall over 10000 people participated all over the state.

It is significant that so many organization s belonging to different trends within the movement united .

The most important issues were the awarding of plots, receiving minimum wage of rs 500 daily,f0r 10 marlas of land to every dalit,for 1/3rd right in panchayat and for employment round the year.

The particpants displayed resolute determination and created the seedlings for a spark turning into a priarie fire.

The wrath was written on their faces against the govt and upper caste apathy .

The leaders of the protest spoke very positively about the enthusiasm of the participants who blazed the spirit of vengeance.Significant that on the 1st day police obstructed labourers from participating by rounding some of them up and only after resistance were they released and allowed to participate..

This exposes the nefarious, anti-people nature of the administration and how it tramples on democratic resistance and activists.

On 8th August the chief minister would address the demands.

The movement for fighting for plots initiated earlier by Punjab Khet Mazdur union and now for the 1/3rd panchyat right for dalits by the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh commitee and Pendu Mazdur union in Sangrur throw great light on the burning dalit resistance.

Some very significant work is also done by the Krantikari Pendu Mazdur union in thwarting of goondaism in Namol village in Sangrur.Although quantitatively small it has done some very good work qualitatively mobilizing hundreds of villagers against politicians.

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 1 Various labour unions today commenced a three-day protest against the ‘anti-labourer’ policies of the SAD-BJP government at Children Park.

Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Dihati Mazdoor Sabha, Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, Kul Hind Khet Mazdoor, Pendu Mazdoor Union Missal and Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union took part in the protest.

Labour unions alleged that on the directions of party leaders, the government is distributing the compensation of the damaged cotton to their acquaintances and close aides to lure the voters.

They said if the Punjab Government did not provide residential plots to the people, then slums would flourish in the villages as well.

They demanded employment for family members of a labourer at the rate of Rs 500 per day under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA). They also demanded to check irregularities in MNREGA.

They announced that the Mazdoor Morcha would fight a tough battle against the atrocities of the police taking place in the state.

Keeping in view of the protest, a huge police force was deployed around the District Administrative Complex and the main road near the DC office was barricaded.

Even a few protesters, who reached near the District Administrative Complex instead of the protest venue, were rounded up by the police and were later let off.

The labour unions also paid tribute to state committee member Narinder Soma, a resident of Sardulgarh, for two minutes.

The protest of the farmers was headed by Zora Singh. Mahipal, Surjit Singh Sohi, Gurbachan Singh, Darbara Singh, Harvinder Sharma, Kulwant, Sewak Singh, Mithu Singh, Prithpal Singh, Jeeta Singh, Harbans, Jaswant Singh, Tirth Singh, Makhan Singh, Kuku Singh, Darshan Singh, Gurmeet Singh and others were present in the protest.

Against government Labour unions alleged that on the directions of party leaders, the government is distributing the compensation for the damaged cotton to their acquaintances and close aides to lure the voters They said if the Punjab Government did not provide residential plots to the people, then slums would flourish in thevillages as well A few protesters, who reached near the DC office instead of the protest venue, were rounded up by the police and were later let off

Bathinda, August 3 Members of the various labour unions today concluded their three-day protest at Children’s Park.

Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Dihati Mazdoor Sabha, Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, Kul Hind Khet Mazdoor, Pendu Mazdoor Union Missal and Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union took part in the three-day protest.

Labour unions said on the directions of party leaders, the government has been distributing the compensation of the damaged cotton crop to their acquaintances and close aides to lure the voters.
Union members who have been demanding residential plots to labourers said if the Punjab Government did not provide residential plots to the labourers, then slums would flourish in the villages as well.

They demanded employment for family members of a labourer at the rate of Rs 500 per day under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and to check irregularities in MNREGA.

Zora Singh, Mahipal, Surjit Singh Sohi, Gurbachan Singh, Darbara Singh, Harvinder Sharma, Kulwant, Sewak Singh, Mithu Singh, Prithpal Singh, Jeeta Singh, Harbans, Jaswant Singh, Tirth Singh, Makhan Singh, Kuku Singh, Darshan Singh, Gurmeet Singh and other leaders were present in the protest.

We have been demanding a fair distribution of the compensation for the damaged cotton crop as the government has not given any attention to the issue. Earlier, the compensation had been distributed to non-deserving ones and many deserving farmers were actually deprived of it.

The state government is responsible for the suicide of labourers and farmers. Last time, the government had purchased duplicate pesticide that had failed to curb whitefly and led to loss to farm labourers who did not get work for the entire cotton season,” said one of the leaders.

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