Farmers block tracks but protests remain peaceful in Punjab, Haryana (Ld)

Chandigarh, Feb 18 (IANS) Farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws blocked railway lines at most places in Punjab and Haryana in response to the call given by the farmers’ unions for a nationwide ‘rail roko’ on Thursday.

Though the four-hour blockades ended peacefully, the commuters faced a harrowing time.

Carrying the national flag along with their union flags, the protesters, comprising women, elders and children, started assembling along the railway lines and began squatting on the tracks well ahead of the start of the protest at 12 noon.

Heavy police deployment was in place in Haryana and Punjab to deal with any untoward incident.

At several protest sites, special arrangements were made for holding ‘langars’ or community kitchens.

Farmers protesting against the legislations have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the ‘mercy’ of big corporate entities.

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