Uproar over farm bills: Roads blocked, effigies burnt in Haryana, Punjab

New Delhi: Farmers on Sunday blocked roads in Haryana and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in neighbouring Punjab, protesting against the farm bills passed in Parliament. Two MLAs from the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), which is part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in Haryana, also participated in the protests, reflecting a rift on the issue among their ranks on the issue.

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Farmers occupied portions of roads and highways at several places in the state between 12 and 3 pm, following a call given by the Haryana unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union against the agri-marketing bills, two of which were passed by Rajya Sabha on Sunday. After 3 pm, reports said the road blockades were lifted, ending the day’s protests in which BKU was also supported by several other farmer organisations.

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In Ambala, Haryana Police used a water cannon at the state’s border to stop Punjab Youth Congress workers from entering the district and travelling ahead to Delhi as part of their tractor rally. The Punjab protesters set fire to one of their own tractors when they were forced to end their rally at the Haryana border, police said.

Farmers were joined by ‘arhitiyas’ — or the commission agents at mandis’ –during their protests at many places in Haryana. There was heavy police deployment across the state, particularly where the bigger gatherings were expected.

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Police diverted traffic to alternative routes. Executive magistrates were stationed along with police at many protest venues. Ambala-Nahan national highway near Naraingarh, Jind-Patiala and Jind-Delhi roads near Julana and Sonipat-Gohana highway were among the roads blocked in Haryana.

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