Punjab advocates, jewellers, traders: How ‘lok leher’ united all for one cause

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to repeal the three farm laws, people from all walks of life were on the streets celebrating.

MANJEET SINGH, who owns a jewelery shop at Mansa Gurdwara chowk, never had any connection with the farmers, but even then he never shyed away from protesting against the farm laws with his friends. “I am not connected with them but in some way, I still am. Farmers are the backbone of our economy. If they don’t have their income, we all will go without food,” said the 41-year-old.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to repeal the three farm laws, people from all walks of life were on the streets celebrating. They said that it was not just a victory of the farmers but a peoples’ movement that bore fruit.

Mansa-based advocate Gurlabh Singh Mahal was the first one to reach Burj Dhilwan village to greet farmers with ladoos. He said, “Our bar association supported the movement and we also went to Delhi borders to protest on several ocassions. We are happy that the announcement has been made and we hope that the law is repealed on the first day of Winter Session.”

Upkar Singh, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), said, “I am into agricultural equipment business and the farm laws would have affected me as well. We welcome the PM’s decision on Guruparab. Now, the farmers should start afresh for the prosperity of the nation.”

In Ludhiana’s Ishar Nagar, Kuldeep Singh Khaira runs a dairy shop and he took part in the protests from the beginning. “My business is directly linked to farmers, hence, if they are unhappy, how can I be happy? Our farmer brothers sat on protest day and night irrespective of the weather. Now, we just hope that everthing comes back to normal,” he said.

In Barnala’s Shaheed Chowk, electronic stores, jewellery shops and even book stores had shut down their shutters in solidarity with the farmers at every call by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.

Narian Dutt, a Barnala-based activist, said that these people had nothing to do with the farm protests but even then supported the cause through thick and thin.

“These people had nothing to lose or gain. They are settled in lives with most of their kids in abroad but even then they supported the movement. Even bankers, factory oweners had extended their support and some even sat on protests at Delhi borders. It was a high that the PM saw this,” he said.

Badish Jindal, president of Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association (FOPSIA), said, “Now that the agitation will end, it will help improve the state’s economy. We expect new investments and expansions of business in the state in the coming years. Domestic and international buyers will be able to reach the state once the roads are cleared. Transportation of goods will also be more convenient as blockades will be removed.”

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