Punjab farmers hoist black flag atop houses to mark six months of protest against agri laws

CHANDIGARH: Farmers in Punjab and Haryana put up black flags atop their houses, burnt effigies of the central government and held protests on Wednesday, joining a ‘black day’ call given by farmer unions to mark six months of their agitation at Delhi borders against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws.

In Punjab, protesting farmers burnt effigies of the BJP-led government at many places including Amritsar, Muktsar, Moga, Tarn Taran, Sangrur and Bathinda in Punjab.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal also raised a black flag at his house in Badal village in Muktsar district and urged the central government to accept the demand of protesting farmers.

In Haryana, state Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said farmers at many places hoisted black flags atop their houses and vehicles to register their protest.

Several political parties including the Congress, SAD and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have extended their support to the farmers’ call of observing the day as ‘black day’.

The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of protesting unions, had announced that farmers will observe May 26 as ‘black day’ to mark the completion of six months of their protest.

Farmers carrying black flags while women wearing black ‘chunnis’ held protests in villages and raised slogans against the Union government.

In Punjab, protesting farmers also burnt effigies of the BJP-led government at many places including Amritsar, Muktsar, Moga, Tarn Taran, Sangrur and Bathinda in Punjab.

Farmers, especially youth, put up black flags on their vehicles including tractors, cars and two-wheelers at several places in Punjab to register their protest.

Punjab AAP leaders including two party legislators Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Meet Hayer held a protest outside Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh in support of protesting farmers.

Holding black flags, they shouted slogans against the BJP-led government and sought that the laws be repealed.

Later, they were removed from outside the residence of the Punjab governor by the Chandigarh Police.

SAD leaders led by Bikram Singh Majithia and Daljit Singh Cheema hoisted a black flag at their party office in Chandigarh.

Similar scenes were reported from a few places in neighbouring Haryana as farmers held protests in Ambala, Hisar, Sirsa, Karnal, Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani, Sonipat and Jhajjar.

In Sirsa, a group of farmers holding black flags gathered in large numbers on Barnala road while in Jind farmers with black flags raised slogans against the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the state.

Joining a group of protesters in Ambala, where farmers burnt an effigy of the central government, Chaduni, who wore a black ribbon around his turban said, “Farmers are prepared to end the protest today if the Centre agrees to our demands.

At the same time, we are prepared to continue our agitation so long our demands are not fulfilled”.

At many places in Haryana including Ambala, Jind, Kaithal, Hisar and other districts, many farmers put black flags on the top of their houses and on their vehicles.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said that their party stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the farmers and demanded that the Centre should immediately rollback the farm laws.

Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said farmers have been agitating for the last six months in cold winter and hot summer months, but Centre has adopted an adamant attitude towards their demands.

The Congress leader said it is due to the hard work of farmers that the country’s food needs are met and there has been record production of foodgrains.

He said the farmers’ struggle will pay off and the “tyrant government” will have to bow before them.

“Six months have passed since the farmers’ protest at Delhi borders against the three farm legislations began,” said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher, slamming the central government for not scrapping the legislations.

Pandher said their struggle will continue till the three laws are scrapped.

Farmer bodies had appealed to all sections including the labourers, youth, unemployed, traders and shopkeepers to raise black flags at their homes, shops and industrial establishments.

In Phagwara in Punjab, Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) General Secretary Satnam Singh Sahni claimed that shopkeepers and traders put up black flags at their shops in solidarity with farmers.

The SAD chief tweeted, “As #KisanAndolan completes 6 months today, I again urge the Centre to deal compassionately with farmers & repeal the black laws. Have hoisted a #BlackFlag atop my Badal residence today & likewise @Akali_Dal_ leaders & workers have done the same observing #Black_Day_Of_Farmers.”

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had on Tuesday once again urged the central government to restart the dialogue process with protesting farmers.

While thousands of farmers have been agitating against the farm laws, the central government has maintained the laws are pro-farmer.

Several rounds of talks between farmers and the government have failed to break the deadlock over the three Central legislations.

A government panel had met farmer leaders on January 22.

There has been no talks between the two sides since January 26 when the farmers’ tractor rally in the national capital turned violent.