PROTESTING FARMERS in Haryana on Sunday declared they will ensure that no fee is collected by toll plazas from vehicles across the state till the Centre accepts their demands. For this, dharnas will be held at toll plazas on national highways.
Initially, the farmer unions had given a call for toll-free movement of vehicles on highways from December 25 to December 27. But with a large number of farmers moving daily to the highways to stage protests at toll plazas, they announced toll-free movement of vehicles for an indefinite period.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, “Today, we went to many toll plazas. There was an opinion of the common man that these toll plazas be made free permanently. In our national executive too, we have decided to make the toll plaza free for movement of vehicles till the government doesn’t accept our demands. To ensure smooth functioning of agitation at toll plazas, committees should be formed. The committees consisting of 5-15 members at every toll plaza will talk to the officers, if needed.”
Chaduni also addressed agitating farmers at Makdoli toll plaza on Rohtak-Panipat national highway where protests are being staged for the past three days continuously.
Farmers beat thalis
To express resentment against the three farm laws, farmers beat ‘thalis’ (steel plates) at protest venues and villages of Haryana while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ was underway on Sunday. The farmers also raised slogans against the PM at protest venues. The farmers beat thalis in villages too. At Panipat toll plaza, trade union leader P P Kapoor said, “The new farm laws will adversely affect farmers. After removal of cap on stock limit, the labourers will get food grains at higher prices as the capitalists may keep huge stocks of food grains to charge higher prices later.”
Two more cases against farmers
The police have lodged two cases against farmers in connection with protests against Haryana Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda and Guhla Cheeka MLA Ishwar Singh two days ago. Apart from slapping other criminal charges, the agitators have also been booked under section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. In past few months, several FIRs have been lodged against the farmers in connection with the ongoing agitation. Farmer leaders have maintained that these cases are “an attempt to supress their voice”.