Chandigarh: Cutting across party lines and trade unions, the 12-hour long statewide protests on Friday by farmers evoked a good response in Punjab and Haryana as normal life was disrupted, but in Chandigarh it was almost normal.
Rail traffic across Punjab and Haryana was badly hit as farmers, farm labourers, commission agents, trade unions and activists of political parties squatted on railway lines and national highways.
However, there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the states. Emergency medical services were exempted from the blockade.
The activists of several farmer associations were seen asking traders at several places in the Congress-ruled Punjab to keep their shops and business establishments closed to mark the pan-India protest.
Reports of blocking roads and highways were received from Punjab’s Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places.
Sufficient security arrangements were made in both the states to prevent any untoward incident, said a senior police official here.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan said the farmers would observe complete blockade of rail and road movement. Taxis and other vehicles would also not be allowed.
He said the truck unions have extended their support to the farmer unions.
Expressing solidarity with farmers, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has control over Sikh religious affairs and manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar, has announced closing its offices.
SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur said the Centre should repeal the farm laws.