September 22, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh/ Patiala: Punjab’s farming sector is facing severe crisis. The newspapers carry reports of farmer suicides on almost daily basis. The sugarcane corp payments are laying pending for almost a year now. Just days back farmers’ had unloaded their potato crop on a road in Mohali to highlight that they were not getting adequate returns from it.
Accusing the Congress party led Punjab government for not fulfilling its poll promises about debt waiver and seeking proper and timely returns for the farming sector output, various farmers’ associations have announced to stage a 6 day long protest in Patiala- the home city of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. The agitation is set to begin today.
The government on the other hand has prepared to deal with the situation with force. A judicial order passed by a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing farmers to hold the protest only after seeking permission of Patiala Deputy Commissioner has provided a practical excuse for the government to justify any use of force against agitating farmers. In their order the judges of the High Court said that any agitation without such permission will not pass the test of ‘legality’. The court has also directed the civil administration to ensure strict enforcement of Sec 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which declares the assembly of more than four persons as ‘unlawful assembly’.
The directions that were passed by the High Court on a supposed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Patiala based lawyer Mohit Kapoor is expected to be turned as a beating baton by the Punjab government in its attempt to suppress the farmers’ agitation.
Heavy security in Patiala as farmers start gathering for 6-day protest
A latest update about situation in Patiala as reported by The Tribune states: “Farmers started gathering at the Mehmadpur grain market as their six-day protest begins on Friday. Police outnumbered the farmers, as of now. Police have barricaded the entire stretch of the road leading to Bew Moti Bagh Palace, where the dharna was initially planned. Heavy police force has been deployed on the Patiala-Sangrur road.”