Punjab: 85 trains affected as farmers squat on tracks at Shambhu - Hindustan Times
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Punjab: 85 trains affected as farmers squat on tracks at Shambhu

Apr 18, 2024 08:50 AM IST

The SKM (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha are demanding release of 3 farmers arrested by Haryana Police during ‘Delhi Chalo’ stir

Patiala/Ambala : More than 20 trains were cancelled while 65 were diverted or short-terminated in the Ambala railway division as farmers, under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), on Wednesday squatted on a rail tracks at the Shambhu railway station near the Punjab and Haryana border, demanding the release of three farmers who had been arrested by the Haryana Police.

More than 20 trains were cancelled while 65 were diverted or short-terminated in the Ambala railway division as farmers, under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), on Wednesday squatted on a rail tracks at the Shambhu railway station near the Punjab and Haryana border, demanding the release of three farmers who had been arrested by the Haryana Police.
More than 20 trains were cancelled while 65 were diverted or short-terminated in the Ambala railway division as farmers, under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), on Wednesday squatted on a rail tracks at the Shambhu railway station near the Punjab and Haryana border, demanding the release of three farmers who had been arrested by the Haryana Police.

The disruption in rail movement also caused inconvenience to passengers on the occasion of Ram Navami.

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KMM leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said the Haryana administration had given them an assurance that the arrested farmers would be released by April 16.

“When our farmers were not released, we decided to squat on the rail track,” Pandher said.

Three farmers, including Navdeep Jalbera, Gurkirat Shahpur and Anish Khatkar, were arrested during the ongoing farmers’ stir.

Navdeep and Gurkirat were arrested on February 28 near Mohali international airport, while Anish Khatkar was arrested on March 19 by Haryana Police in a murder bid case registered on February 13 relating ongoing farmers’ agitation on the Haryana-Punjab border.

Farmer leaders claim that Khatkar had been on hunger strike since his arrest, and his health was deteriorating with each passing day.

Though the Punjab Police had erected barricades to prevent protesters from heading towards the rail track, farmers forced their way and sat on the Ambala-Ludhiana rail track.

Farmer leaders said they will not end their protest until the protesters are released.

“If the government releases them now, we will vacate the rail tracks within 10 minutes,” said another farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal.

Pandher threatened to squat on more rail tracks if the three farmers were not released in the coming days.

Amarjit Singh Mohri, president of the BKU Shaheed Bhagat Singh, said: “Initially, we had planned to hold rail roko on April 8, but after a meeting with senior officials of Punjab and Haryana in Chandigarh on April 9, we had postponed it until April 16. Since our demands have not been fulfilled, we have started an indefinite rail roko protest.”

According to railway authorities, trains from Amritsar to New Jalpaiguri, Amritsar to Kathiar, Pathankot to Old Delhi, Amritsar to Tata Nagar, Kolkata to Amritsar, Delhi to Amritsar, Haridwar to Amritsar and Darbhanga to Amritsar were diverted.

While trains from Ludhiana to Churu and Churu to Ludhiana, Ambala Cantt to Jalandhar City, Ludhiana to Ambala Cantt, and Patiala to Ambala were cancelled, they said.

The SKM (non-political) and the KMM are spearheading the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by farmers to press the government to accept their demands which include that the Centre should give a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.

The farmer union leaders are also demanding electricity, drinking water and sanitation facilities from the Punjab government at the Shambhu and Khanauri protest sites.

The farmers have been staying put at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana since February 13 when their march was stopped by the security forces.

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