Abrogation of Art 370:Protesters block highways in Bathinda, Sangrur, Mansa, Barnala
Hundreds of workers of farmer and trade unions on Sunday blocked the Bathinda–Chandigarh National Highway at Bhucho Khurd and Gill Kalan after police stopped them from rallying towards Mohali in their vehicles to stage a protest against the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
As other groups marching towards Mohali got to know about police having stopped protesters at Gill Kalan, they blocked a road at Bhucho Khurd. Protesters marched in Rampura Phul and Bhucho after ending the road blockade and burnt effigies of the Punjab government. A group of protesters was stopped at Talwandi Sabo.
As many as 11 farmers and trade union have formed Kashmiri Kaumi Sangharsh Smarthan Samiti against the abrogation of Article 370 which grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and against its bifurcation into two union territories.
District president of BKU (Ekta–Ugrahan) Shingara Singh Mann said people in J&K have been imprisoned in their own homes due to restrictions imposed on them and communication has been snapped disconnecting the state from the rest of the world. He said the Centre has been falsely claiming that the decision will result in the development of the state. He alleged that the Centre wanted the corporate sector to loot the state’s resources.
In a similar protest, the Mansa-Patiala road was blocked at Mansa Kenchian after police stopped protesters from going ahead. Farmers lead by Ram Singh Bhainibahga, a local leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union, blocked the road from around 10am. Commuters faced a hard time for about 5 hours.
Farmers ended their protest after burning the effigy of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Ram Singh said: “the Congress government in Punjab is doing the same as the Centre had done with Jammu and Kashmir after abrogating Article 370.”
In another protest, thousands of activists belonging to several rights organisations blocked the Chandigarh-Mansa road at Sangrur’s Mehlan Chowk on Sunday. When protesters were stopped from moving towards Mohali from Mehlan Chowk, 15 km from Sangrur town, they began to protest on the spot and raised slogans against state government and the Centre.
The members of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Ugrahan), Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Democratic Teacher’s Union took part in the protest.
“We were moving to Mohali but police stopped us. On one hand Rahul Gandhi is blaming BJP for violation of human rights of Kashmiris, but on the other hand Congress CM Amarinder Singh is stopping us from marching. The Congress is double faced. Farmers and youth of Punjab are with the Kashmiris,” said Manjit Singh, leader BKU (Ugrahan).
When farmers thronging to Mohali to protest held a dharna in Badbar village on national highway were stopped by police on Sunday, they blocked the traffic and shouted slogans.
BKU Ugrahan block president, Balour Singh said, “We were going to Mohali to raise our voice in favour of Kashmiris. We were not going to create chaos there, but the government is apparently anxious.”
Farmer leader, Nazar Singh said, “Life is paralysed in Kashmir and the government may suppress our voices, in Punjab, too. The police stopped us at Sekha chowk so we are holding a dharna here.”
SP (Investigation) Sukhdev Singh said, “Farmers cannot congregate in Mohali in view of Section 144 in force there. They blocked the road so we diverted the traffic.”