CHANDIGARH, Punjab—A massive rallying will be seeing for observing successful state-wide bandh (shutdown) on Friday (September 25) against anti-farmer bills introduced by BJP-led union government of India as many of farmers, human rights, social rights and other organizations have joined hands together.
Call for the shutdown was given by the farmer organizations of Punjab, which have also demonstrated unity to intensify the stir against the government after it got these bills passed by the Indian Parliament forcefully and sent it to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, for the final stamp.
These bills are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The farmers are deeply worried as these bills will ensure the dominance of corporate companies over the agriculture sector and destroy them in a way. Once the bills become Act after the President’s signature, the farmers will have to play in hands of these companies. This provision will affect everyone as it would lead to a hike in food prices. These kinds of laws are sure to ruin the livelihood of commission agents and mandi labourers, say experts of the agriculture economy.
As Punjab is an agrarian state, the enactment of these laws would risk its existence. Despite an uprising being witnessed in this state against these bills ever since the Modi cabinet issued ordinances in this regard, the union government is adamant to implement these draconian laws. In view of the undemocratic and dictatorial behavior of the union government, the people of Punjab are taking to the street to resent this.
Almost all the sections have come in support of the farmers’ cause as it has become centre stage in the state. Even Congress, the ruling party in Punjab, has supported the shutdown call. Facilitating the agitating farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today announced that they will face no FIR for violating section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure imposed by the district magistrates in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the day of Punjab shutdown, this stir is most likely to take the shape of a big movement in this border state which is the homeland of Sikhs and considered strategically important of Indian government. “This is the last battle of Punjab”, commented Gurbachan Singh, noted Sikh thinker and former editor of Desh Punjab Magazine, on his Facebook hander.
Notably, a section of Punjab’s Hindu community which has a history of favouring policies of the union government, has stood against the move of the Modi government.