While the protests against Centre’s farm laws are driven majorly by farmers, Tuesday’s band saw an outpouring of support from urban areas in Punjab.
As every city within the state saw people beginning on the roads this point , even the economic town of Ludhiana, which usually never rises to such calls, saw people supporting the bandh.
Bakhtawar Singh, owner of recent Opticals in Chaura Bazar, who is additionally president of the Chaura Bazar Association, said, “Sade kol zameen nahi par zameer hai (we don’t have land for agriculture, but we’ve a conscience.)
Harjinder Singh Kukreja (34),owner of Hot Breads and Belfrance eating joints in city’s Sarabha Nagar area was out on the roads with protesting farmes. Earlier within the day, Kukreja along side other store owners had gathered within the Sarabha Nagar market to welcome farmers.
This market has many branded stores and eating joints and it had been shut Tuesday in support of farmers.
Kukreja said, “I was at Singhu approach Monday and on Sunday, our entire family was a part of candle light march at Sarabha Nagar market.”
His wife, Harkirat Kaur (30), was a part of that candle light march along side her kids aged 9, 7 and a couple of years. Kukreja said, “Farmers are linked to us. the whole economy is connected with farmers. Our state is an agrarian state and therefore the same money rotates within the market. If a farmer will earn less, the
same money will rotate within the market and hence my restaurant are going to be affected automatically. In fact, albeit my neighbour loses job, it affects me and here are the 60 per cent of the population of the state. I feel that they ought to be listened to and their demands should be met.”
Sonu Nilibar (52), the owner of Nilibar – a garment store on Mall road said, “City stayed open during the previous bandh calls of farmers on September 25 and one was in October, but this point , i used to be the primary one to display a board outside my store on December 3 to increase my support to farmers. Later, I and a couple of friends decided to increase support to bandh. I saw that the majority a part of the town wanted to support farmers as I could see boards in markets, stickers on cars on Monday evening.”
His wife, Puneet Nilibar (45), said, “Every day on the board we mention farmers only. We thank them for the food which we are eating. A deep gratitude to them, hence observing bandh for each day isn’t an enormous thing, they’re sitting on roads in biting cold.”
Preet Chandoke, a programmer , said,”I stay connected with farmers tons as we tried to form biofuel out of paddy stubble. Hence, we do understand their problems, challenges of weather and government’s support. We stood by them and are always in support of our farmers.”
Ranjodh Singh, owner of GS Auto – an automobile company, was at Jagraon bridge dharna along side people from all walks of life.
He said, “Shopkeepers, industrialists, service sector people had gathered at the Jagraon bridge. None folks has any land in villages, but we are standing by farmers. Assi Zameena te zameeran daunve kayam rakhange (we will hold on to both land and our conscience).”
Harminder Singh Tuteja, who features a sanitary goods shop in Ludhiana said, “Farmers’ income goes to affect us. If he’s unhappy with the farm laws, why are they being implemented?”
Nilibar added,” 80% of the farmers in Punjab have land but 5 acres and hence they’re getting to be impacted. albeit these laws are for the great , why were farmers not briefed in layman’s language before making them acts? We support farmers and can always support them during this struggle.”
Nilibar’s father Uttam Singh (82) said, “I migrated from Pakistan where my parents were ahrtiyas. Firstly, we settled in Malaut in Muktsar district to continue working as ahrityas and later shifted to Ludhiana. We are closely connected with farmers. Many of our clients are from villages. Most of our NRI clients have a rural base in Punjab. We are cognizant that if farmers are unhappy, the state is unhappy.
Areas within the city like Jawaddi bridge, Dugri bridge, all the most roads were blocked by residents and that they had come from cities in majority. “No one was forced to shut shops as I sleep in BRS Nagar and just one cloth merchant in our area opened his shop, and nobody objected thereto . This was a self-observed bandh,”said Ranjodh Singh.
Meanwhile, a couple of industrial units opened
even though majority of commercial associations had given a call to shut the units . Interestingly many doctors, nursing staff also supported this cause, though they extended support through social media.
Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a social activist who runs a dairy products shop in Ishar Singh Nagar, said,”I was a part of this rally removing from my area and my wife who may be a nurse at a personal hospital joined me today as she had no morning shift.”
Amarjeet Kaur, his wife, said,”We differ in our opinions most of the time but this point , I fully support him. “
In Bathinda, 35 urban welfare associations participated within the bandh call.
Master Resham Singh, a government school teacher who lives in Bathinda, said, “Here everyone closed their units/shops with none banners, messages. The impact was so strong. We even joined farmers’ protest outside the mall of a company house at Bhucho Mandi.”
Barnala also had an identical impact where urban and rural people joint rallies. “Normally Barnala’s city area responds to farmers’ calls, but this point the response was extraordinary,” said Narian Dutt, social activist in Barnala.
Urban areas in Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozepur , Fazilka ,Sangrur, Moga , Patiala, Faridkot’s too saw an awesome response to the bandh.