Train services disrupted in India by protesting farmers

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Farmers shout slogans as they take part in a protest in Amritsar district of India's northern state Punjab, June 26, 2021. As farmers' protest in India against the three contentious farm laws on Saturday entered the eighth straight month, thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab embarked on a march towards Chandigarh, officials said. (Str/Xinhua)
Farmers shout slogans as they take part in a protest in Amritsar district of India's northern state Punjab, June 26, 2021. As farmers' protest in India against the three contentious farm laws on Saturday entered the eighth straight month, thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab embarked on a march towards Chandigarh, officials said. (Str/Xinhua)

Protesting farmers squatted on railway tracks in several parts of India on Monday, disrupting train services.

At least 27 trains were cancelled and another 60 were delayed, railway officials said. Most of the services affected were in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers’ unions had called for the six-hour rail roko – or train-halting – programme in connection with an incident in Uttar Pradesh where a group of farmers holding a protest rally on a highway were mowed down by a car linked to federal Minister Ajay Mishra.

The October 3 incident left eight people dead. The car killed four protesters and an angry mob beat to death three men in the car including the driver. A journalist also died in the incident.

Mishra’s son was arrested six days after the incident with farmers’ leaders claiming he was behind the attack. The Mishras have denied this.

The farmers called for the rail blockade to support their demand that Mishra step down as minister for home affairs in the federal government as they feel a fair probe cannot be held while he is in office.

The Lakhimpur Khedi incident is one of the most serious incidents of violence since the farmers’ protests began in November 2020 over a set of contentious new farm laws.

Talks between the Narendra Modi government and farmers’ leaders led to a stalemate.

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