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Protest against new farm laws at Barnala railway station in Punjab going on for over 180 days

On October 1 final 12 months, farmers protesting against the new farm laws began a pakka morcha (indefinite agitation) at the Barnala railway station in Punjab. As the nation celebrated Holi on March 29, the dharna there accomplished 180 days.

Gulwant Singh, a Barnala resident, stated, “I have supported this movement since beginning. On March 26, we completed 177 days of dharna at Barnala railway station. The location inside the railway station premises has kept changing, but the site is the same. On Holi, we completed 180 days, but the government is still unmoved.”

The dharna, which began on the railway tracks, later moved to the parking zone of the railway station.

Jagtar Singh (70), a retired FCI official and likewise a farmer from village Thikriwala, stated, “We will not lift dharnas till the laws are not repealed.”

Barnala railway station is among the over 100 protest websites in Punjab the place protests entered 181st day on March 30. The dharna has been organised by 32 farmer unions of Punjab.

On October 1, farmers had first blocked railway tracks at the Barnala railway station. On October 22, they shifted to the railway platform to permit items trains. From November 5 onwards, they shifted their dharna to the parking zone of the railway station, which is the place it continues now.

“Earlier it used to be a 24×7 dharna. But since December 21 last year, we started staging the protests in the railway parking lot from 11am to 3 pm. Now we don’t sleep overnight at this protest site, but it still stands to be a pakka dharna which has completed 6 months at Barnala railway station,” stated Narian Dutt from Inqlabi Manch, one of many major organisers of this dharna.

By 11 am, ladies, elders and kids with their moms from completely different villages come to the protest website. On the day of the Bharat Bandh on March 26, among the many audio system had been Class 7 scholar Jaspreet Kaur from Cheema village and Class 5 scholar Arshvir Kaur from Pakhoke.

“Our elders have been protesting since June. From October, someone or the other from our house comes to the protest site,” stated 10-year-old Arshvir Kaur.

Jaswant Singh (80) from Barnala’s city space was the oldest speaker at the positioning on Holi as he even burnt the copies of three farm laws. He was, nevertheless, clear in his speech regardless of his age. He stated, “Many have criticized on social media saying we are rich farmers. But the rich cannot sleep on stones. I invite BJP leaders to sleep on tracks with us for 2-3 hours only.”

There have protesters of all age teams at the positioning of agitation. Among the audio system, there have the likes of Dharampal Kaur, who’s over 60, and is an energetic member of BKU (Dakaunda), in addition to Gurpreet Singh (32) and Kuldeep Singh Dhaula (27), each younger farmers from villages Raisar and Dhaula of Barnala respectively. The duo has made a number of visits to the Singhu border and are planning to go once more.

Food is cooked at the dharna spot on a every day foundation by volunteers of Nanded Sahib Langar Committee together with protesting farmers. “Earlier, this committee used to serve langar to passengers travelling in Nanded Sahib train, and since October it has been doing the same for protesting farmers,” added Dutt.

He added, “On March 26, over 800 protesters sat on the tracks for 12 hours as a part of the Bharat Bandh call and langar was cooked on a huge scale. Security staff, railway staff and many others came and ate at the protest site. Langar is for everyone. We also serve tea. A few passengers who come to the railway station to board the train at times also visit and sit with us. We serve them tea and langar as well.”

A younger farmer Gurpreet Singh stated, “Women leave by 2.30 pm as they have to make arrangements for dinner, take care of cattle and manage other household chores. Men wind up the dharna about an hour later.”

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