Protesting Punjab farmers welcome court orders to open Shambhu border, say will decide next course soon

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PATIALA: After the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Haryana Government to remove the barricades at the Shambhu border near Ambala within a week, farmers, who have been camping there since February 13 when their “Dilli Chalo” march was halted, maintained that the orders had proved they had not closed the highway.

Farmer leader Sarvan Singh Pandher said they had learnt from the media that the high court had asked Haryana to lift the barricades. “We welcome the orders of the court even though we haven’t received these yet. We have called a meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha on July 16 to decide our future course of action,” said Pandher.

He said the orders had proved that it was not the farmers but the Haryana Government which was blocking the border by installing barricades between the two states since February.

The highway has been closed for public transport, which has not only thrown life out of gear, but has also adversely affected business and industry in Punjab and neighbouring states. “As part of a well-devised propaganda, the farmers were being painted as villains and solely blamed for the harassment of commuters. The high court orders have laid bare the truth and shown the world who had blocked the highway. We hope that the court’s directions change people’s perception,” said farmer leader Guramneet Singh Mangat.

On June 23, the farmers had a face-off with local residents and traders from Ambala, who had gathered at the Shambhu border.

The next day, farmer leaders took the media to the Shambhu border and explained the ground situation. They maintained that they had not blocked the highway, rather the Haryana Government had put up barricades and stopped the farmers from marching towards Delhi.