Nationwide Road Blockade on November 5

News Desk: Various farmers’ outfits protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws announced on Tuesday that they plan to hold a nationwide road blockade on November 5.

At a meeting held in New Delhi, it was further decided that there shall be complete coordination among various farmers’ outfits “to spearhead the fight against three anti-farmer, anti-people farm laws and the Centre’s proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020”.

Major farmer federations with over 500 constituent organisations, including the entire working group and state chapter representatives of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and the federations led by farmer leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal of BKU (Rajewal) and Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh, met at Delhi, where various decisions were taken, according to a statement issued by the AIKSCC.

According to the statement, it was announced at the meeting that “an all-India road blockade shall be organised on November 5”. On November 26-27, the farmers would organise a “Delhi Chalo” protest.

“The demand shall be focussed on the withdrawal of the three recently-passed farm Acts and the Electricity Bill 2020. The protests will include huge state-wise/region-wise buildup of mass mobilisation and movements focussing on these demands,” the statement said.

A newly-launched programme coordination body will lead the protests.

A committee of the coordination body shall include V.M. Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Gurnam Singh, Raju Shetty and Yogendra Yadav. It will coordinate the two initial programmes on November 5 and another one on November 26-27.

At the meeting, the farmers decided that protests will be held near government offices all over the country, offices of the leaders of the BJP and its allies, as well as big corporates.

“The meeting condemned the Central government’s decision to stop the operation of goods trains to Punjab…this is blackmail of the people and farmers of Punjab and is most unbecoming of a democratic government,” the statement said.

Amid protests by farmers on railway tracks against the new farm laws, railway minister Piyush Goyal sought the Punjab government’s assurance on Monday on the safety of trains and their crew members to restore freight services, hours after chief minister Amarinder Singh asked him to intervene in the matter.

Goods train services resumed in Punjab after the farmer unions, on October 21, announced exempting them from the “rail roko” agitation against the farm laws, which has been underway for weeks.

Children and farmers block railway tracks during a protest against the new farm bills at Jandiala Guru in Amritsar, October 27, 2020.

However, the railways decided to extend its suspension of goods train operations in the state, saying the protesting farmers are still blocking the tracks.

The farmers said in their statement that the movement of trains was no longer being held up by the farmers, barring a few areas near Amritsar. They added, “But without the goods trains, there is a shortage of essential items in Punjab, and farmers also find it difficult to get fertilizers and other inputs. That is why we stopped the rail roko. But the BJP is intent on giving a bad name to the protesters, and so it is carrying out this blackmail of the people and farmers of Punjab.”