Indian farmers along Pakistan border in Punjab resent restriction

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Amritsar, Aug 28 (ANI): Anguished Indian villagers in Punjab, whose farms lie across the fencing along the Pakistan border have staged a protest over problems faced in tilling their fields.

The protest was staged under the banner of the Jamhuri Kisan Sabha (Democratic Farmers Council) and the Border Area Sangharsh (Struggle) Committee.

Hundreds of agitating farmers gathered in Bhindi Saiydan village of Amritsar on Thursday, saying that the Border Security Force has enforced stiff restrictions, giving them little access to till their land and tend the crops.

"We are facing a lot of difficulties. The gate opens at 9 in the morning and around 1 to 2 pm in the afternoon, they ask us to go back. If any farmer has work left, they even ask those farmers to leave," said Balbir Singh, a farmer.

"We also demand that close relatives of these border farmers be given employment opportunities," said Satnam Singh Ajnala, president of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha.

Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts alone have about 170-kilometre long border with Pakistan.

India began setting up a long fence along the disputed border with Pakistan in the mid-90s to stop militant groups and illegal immigrants from sneaking into Indian territory.

Pakistan initially objected to the fence, but India hurriedly set it up at least 2-4 km away from the border line in some places, saying they were coming under heavy firing from across the border.

As a result, vast areas of fertile land in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, were left outside the fence, leading to protests from Indian farmers. (ANI)

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