The farmers protesting against the Centre's three contentious farm laws will be holding a four-hour 'rail roko' tomorrow (Thursday, February 18) to further pressurise the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to repeal the three 'black laws'.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, has said that the 'rail roko' will be held across the country from 12 pm to 4 pm.
'Rail roko' is the third major demonstration by the farmers as part of their protest. Earlier, they had organised a tractor rally on January 26 and a nationwide 'chakka jam' on February 6.
In view of tomorrow's 'rail roko', several trains have been diverted or cancelled in Punjab. According to news agency PTI, 20 additional companies of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) have been deployed across the country, with focus on Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Director General, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar on Wednesday said, "I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We will be liaisoning with district administrations and will have a control room in place." "We will gather intelligence. States such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and some other areas will be our focus. We have deployed 20 companies (around 20,000 personnel) of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) in these areas," he said.
"We want to persuade them to not cause inconvenience for passengers. We have a four-hour window and we want it (rail roko) to get over peacefully," Kumar said.
For the uninitiated, farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi's borders against the farm legislations since November 28 last year and demanding these be repealed.
Farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The three farm laws, enacted in September last year, have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.