Farmers block rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana, West UP


New Delhi: Farmers protesting against the new farm laws on Thursday blockaded railway tracks in several states, under a ‘rail roko’ strike called by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). The SKM had called the rail blockade from noon to 4 PM. Its impact was most visible in Punjab and Haryana, where the farmers blocked almost all the important routes delaying several trains.

In Haryana, farmers in districts near the Delhi border squatted on the tracks, which affected the movement of trains. At the Bahadurgarh railway station near the Tikri border, farmers distributed food and water to the passengers and cleaned the station after the protest ended. In Punjab, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), the largest farmer union of the state, blocked train services at as many as 22 places.

Several other organisations also participated in the blockade. BKU leader Rakesh Tikait participated in two mahapanchayats in Haryana’s Hisar. He appealed to the government to come back to the discussion table. “Farmers are going for their crop-cutting season. The government is wrong in thinking that the movement is ending,” he said while addressing a panchayat at the Balsamand village in Hisar.

He said farmers would burn their ready crop in fields if the government did not roll back the three farm laws. “The farmers can sacrifice their one year’s crop,” he said. In Western UP, farmers blocked the tracks at places like Meerut, Moradabad, Amroha and Shamli. At Hapur, there was a small scuffle between protesting farmers and the police. “The reports which we have received suggest that the rail roko protest went off peacefully in all parts of West UP,” BKU spokesperson Dharmender Malik told ET. According to reports, farmers blocked railway tracks at several places in Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka and Maharashtra as well.

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