Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A long queue of tractors and trolleys of protesting farmers parked in the middle of the highway near Singhu (Delhi-Haryana) border in Sonipat district of Haryana on Monday. (Ravi Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Farmers demanding the repeal of three farms laws received a shot in the arm on Monday with two of the biggest unions of the national transporter– The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) and the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) – extending their support for Bharat Bandh on Tuesday.
The railway unions on Monday announced that their members will hold rallies and demonstrations on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with the farmers who have called the bandh.
All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra met the agitating farmers at Delhi’s Singhu border and assured them that members of the railway union are with them in their fight against the new agriculture laws.
“We have written to our affiliates all over the Indian Railways to extend support to the farmers in their struggle to achieve their genuine demands, on December 8, 2020 during Bharat Bandh’. I have already advised AIRF affiliates to organise agitation programmes, dharna, demonstrations and rallies during lunch hour against anti-farmer policies of the Government of India. I hope that the government will give cognizance to the genuine demands of the farmers and redress the same at the earliest,” he said in a statement.
M Raghavaiah, general secretary, NFIR in a statement appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept the demands of the farmers and said that the railway families are with the “annadatas” in their struggle against the anti-farm laws which are “detrimental to the farmer community of the nation”.
“The NFIR general secretary advised all its affiliate unions throughout the Indian Railways to conduct dharnas, rallies and demonstrations in solidarity with the farmers’ struggle and against anti-farmer decisions of the central government,” the statement said.
The two unions comprising nearly 13 lakh current railway employees and around 20 lakh retired employees, are the latest to show solidarity with agitating farmers. Support for farmers have also poured in from the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has also extended its support.
“Earlier it was decided that the transport fraternity from Northern India will participate in the Bharat Bandh announced by farmers, but now it has been resolved in the meeting that transport associations and unions in other parts of the country will join the Bharat Bandh of farmers and voluntarily suspend their operations on December 8, 2020,” the AIMTC said in a statement.