Chandigarh : Farmers, across party lines, in Punjab and Haryana began day-long protest on Friday morning against the Centre's Farm Bills passed by both both Houses of Parliament.
Authorities have deployed police to stop any violence in the protest. For the first time, 31 farmer outfits in Punjab declared joint protest.
Supporting the protesting farmers, shopkeepers of major towns in both the states closed their shops.
Several trains have been suspended since Thursday as farmers began a three-day 'rail roko' campaign against the Bills.
The Ferozepur Railway division decided to suspend operation of special trains till September 26 in view of the safety of passengers, a rail official told IANS.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to all political parties to rise above "petty considerations" and come on one platform to fight unitedly against the "treacherous" Bills that would destroy the state's farmers.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union Government has stooped to a new low by bringing these Bills, and that too in a totally undemocratic and unparliamentary manner," said Amarinder Singh, adding that his government, supported by the Congress state unit, will oppose the Legislations tooth and nail in the interest of not just the farmers and the state but the entire country.
He has appealed to the farmers to strictly maintain law and order, and adhere to all Covid-19 safety protocols.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP-led NDA government, announced a statewide 'chakka jam' to mark their protest.
The SAD has been a longstanding ally of the ruling BJP. SAD's Lok Sabha MP and Sukhbir Badal's wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet on September 17, citing her party's opposition to the three Bills.
Interestingly, many Punjabi singers have extended their support to the 'bandh' call given by farmers.
Popular Punjabi singer and actor Harbhajan Mann in a tweet said he along with several other artists would be participating in the protest.
In Haryana, activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union activists along with sacked physical training instructors showed black flags to Agriculture Minister J.P. Dalal on Thursday in Mudlana village in Sonepat district.
Terming the Farm Bills as a 'revolutionary step', Haryana BJP state chief O.P. Dhankar said these would open up multiple options for farmers to sell their produce.
With inputs from IANS