Less than 24 hours after the talks between the Centre and representatives of farmer unions ended on a stormy note, farmers belong to 29 organisations on Thursday declared they would intensify their non-violent stir and announced state-wide protests in Punjab on October 17 against the three farm laws passed by Parliament.
The groups announced they would stage sit-in protests outside the residences of the state BJP leaders, besides deciding to continue with the suspension of trains and blocking of road networks near toll plazas.
“There will be state-wide protest in Punjab on October 17. Our ‘rail roko’ agitation and ‘gherao’ of toll plazas in the state would be intensified and effigies of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi will be burnt,” a spokesperson for the farmers’ unions told the media here.
The BJP leaders ranging from district presidents to MPs to MLAs, both present and former, would be held captive in their residences as they were involved in “provocation”, he said.
Also, businesses owned by two large corporate houses, including their petrol pumps, would not be allowed to operate, the spokesman added.
These decisions were taken at the meeting called by the unions here to chalk out the next course of action after a delegation of farmers walked out of a meeting with Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, demanding the presence of the minister and accusing the Centre of adopting “double standards”.
“If needed, we will ‘gherao’ the (Punjab) Governor and Prime Minister Modi too,” he said.
“The next course of the agitation will be decided at the meeting on October 20,” he added.
Reacting to the failure of “talks”, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was shocked by the “humiliating treatment” meted out to farmers by the Centre that had added salt to the wounds of the farmers by sending an officer to meet them.
“Don’t our farmers deserve even the courtesy of the Union Agriculture Minister meeting them personally,” he tweeted.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal also came down heavily against the “gross betrayal of the farmers and their organisations by the BJP government in Delhi” on the pretext of the so-called talks between the representatives of both the sides.
Meanwhile, the state government on Wednesday decided to convene a special session of the Assembly on October 19 to bring in a legislation to counter the “anti-farmer” farm laws.
The Chief Minister had earlier announced that his government will fight the “anti-federal” and “vicious” farm laws tooth and nail through legislative, legal and other routes.