New Delhi: At the call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), farmers blocked road and rail traffic on Monday in several places in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, protesting against the Narendra Modi government’s inaction on their demand for resignation of Union minister of state for home, Ajay Mishra Teni.
Farmers want the minister to resign to enable a fair probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri carnage in Uttar Padesh wherein four farmers and a journalist were mowed down by a speeding SUV allegedly driven by the minister’s son, Ashish, who finally was arrested in the case on October 9.
Protests were held at many places, including Punjab's Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Moga, Patiala and Ferozepur and Haryana's Charkhi Dadri, Sonipat, Kurukshetra, Jind, Karnal and Hisar.
Protesting farmers, including women, raised slogans against the BJP-led government and demanded the arrest of Ajay Mishra. Security was deployed at railway stations in the wake of the 'rail roko' protest.
The SKM, an umbrella body of over 40 farmers unions that is spearheading the farmers’ movement against the three Central farm laws, has called for a 10 a.m to 4 .pm peaceful ‘rail roko’ across the country in protest.
In Punjab, farmers were seen squatting on rail tracks on Monday morning demanding the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra.
A Railway official said four sections of the Ferozepur division were blocked by the protesters. The Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga were affected, the official said, as per a PTI report.
Farmers sat on rail tracks in several sections including the Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga, officials said.
Another Railway official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that as of now, 30 locations are affected and eight trains regulated in the Northern Railway Zone.
Demanding the arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher on Monday said the KMSC will hold protests at 20 places in 11 districts of Punjab.
In a statement, the SKM has said that the "protests will be intensified until justice is secured" in the Lakhimpur Kheri case.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the gruesome incident took place, the Bharatiya Janata party-led Yogi Adityanatah government announced a clampdown on the protests, saying that action would be taken against those participating in the ‘rail roko andolan’. The Lucknow police has also threatened to invoke the stringent National Security Act against those trying to “disrupt normalcy”. Also, Uttar Pradesh police has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC which prohibits a gathering of four people in an area.
According to a report in Amar Ujala, preventive arrests have been made by the UP police to stop farmers from protesting. In Azamgarh, Jai Kisal Andolan leaders were prevented from leaving their homes for the protest sites and kept under house arrest.
Similarly, in Agra, farm leader Ramvir Sngh, Saurabh Chaudhry and Dharmvir Chaudhry were kept under house arrest at their residence in Nagla Haveli by GRP personnel, according to Amar Ujala, a Hindi daily.
In Haryana’s Bahadurgarh, there were reports of farmers squatting on the railway tracks to mark their protest over the violence. The administration has deployed Rapid Action Force at Sonipat Railway Station.
(with inputs from PTI)