Farmers’ Rail Roko: Farmers’ organisations will hold a nationwide ‘rail roko’ program for 4 hours today as they continue their protest against the central farm laws. Jagtar Singh Bajwa, spokesperson of the Kisan Andolan Committee, Ghazipur border said they will carry out a peaceful protest during the ‘Rail Roko’ program on February 18 from 12 noon to 4 pm. We will offer refreshments to the passengers to avoid inconvenience, he said.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called for a peaceful protest, expecting to get support for the program from across the country.
“Appeal to everyone for a peaceful protest in nationwide ‘Rail Roko’ program on February 18 from 12 noon to 4 pm,” it said.
The SKM demanded that the government should resolve the farmers’ issues immediately without any further delay.
“Samyukt Kisan Morcha took note of the high-level meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of JP Nadda with elected party leaders and others from Haryana, UP, Punjab and Rajasthan, along with Cabinet and other Ministers like Amit Shah, Narendra Singh Tomar, Sanjeev Baliyan and others,” read a release by Darshan Pal of the SKM.
Farmers have been protesting at the different borders of the national capital since November last year, against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Railways deployed 20 additional RPSF companies
The railways has deployed 20 additional companies of the RPSF across the country, with focus on Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, in the wake of the “rail roko” called on Thursday by farmer groups protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws.
Director General, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar on Wednesday said, “I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We will be liaisoning with district administrations and will have a control room in place.”
“We will gather intelligence. States such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and some other areas will be our focus. We have deployed 20 companies of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) in these areas,” he said.
Sources in the northern railways said they are expecting that ‘rail roko’ agitations will be concentrated in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
“No decision has yet been taken on train movement in the backdrop of the rail blockade. Once we get a better picture of the status of the protests and have identified sensitive spots, we will put in place a plan of action. We have around 80 trains which run through potentially sensitive areas and most of them would have passed through them before 12 pm,” an official said.
The announcement of the rail roko movement came amid the ongoing protests against the laws at Delhi’s borders by farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and ‘mahapanchayats’ that are being organised in these states to garner support for the movement.