The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called for a Bharat Bandh on Monday from 6 am to 4 pm to continue their protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Protesting farmers blocked the Shambhu border (Punjab-Haryana border) and the Delhi-Amritsar highway at Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra as the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) began on Monday.
The SKM has called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on September 27 to mark one year of the passage of the Centre’s three farm laws.
The SKM in a statement said, “It was on September 27 that President Ram Nath Kovind assented to and brought into force the three anti-farmer black laws last year. Tomorrow, there will be a total Bharat Bandh observed around the country from 6 am to 4 pm.”
The farm leaders have appealed to all Indians to join the shutdown. They have put out detailed guidelines and have called for a peaceful strike.
This will be the third Bharat Bandh called by the SKM and the Kisan Unions expect the bandh to be an effective one.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said, “Tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh in the country will be historic. All national and state highways will be blocked. In the National Capital Region, KMP Highway will also be blocked at Dasna, Modinagar, Garhmukteshwar, Duhai, Singhu border.”
Earlier, at Kisan Mahapanchayat in Haryana’s Panipat, Rakesh Tikait had said, “ The government of India should repeal the three farm laws at the earliest. If not, Samyukta Kisan Morcha will go to every part of the country, hold meetings and protests against the Central government, and campaign in poll-bound states.”
“It has been 10 months of this agitation. The government must listen with open ears that even if we have to agitate for 10 years we are ready,” Tikait had said, while addressing the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Panipat.
WHAT ARE THE TIMINGS OF THE SHUTDOWN AND WHAT ALL WILL BE AFFECTED?
The Bandh will be held on Monday from 6 am to 4 pm. Transport and markets are expected to remain shut on a large scale during this period.
Talking about the shutdown, SKM said, “This would include all government and private offices, all educational and other institutions, all shops, industries and commercial establishments, all public events and functions. Public and private transport will also come to a halt during this period.”
Joint execution teams have been formed in several districts and trade unions, chambers of commerce, bar bodies as well as student unions are expected to join the Bharat Bandh to strengthen the protest.
However, emergency services are exempted from the strike.
The kisan body said, “All emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted.”
In view of the shutdown, the bus services of the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) will remain suspended from 6 AM to 3 PM on Monday.
WHO ALL ARE SUPPORTING THE SHUTDOWN?
Several political parties have come out in support of the shutdown called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the Congress and its workers will extend full support to the peaceful ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmer unions.
“We believe in the right of our farmers and we will stand by them in their fight against the black farm laws,” he said in a tweet.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by Farmer Unions demand for Bharat Bandh on 27 Sept 2021. In the war of right and wrong you can not afford to be neutral !! We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three Unconstitutional Black Laws !!”
Meanwhile, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Anil Kumar said that party workers will give their full support to the peaceful Bharat Bandh called by the kisan body.
Anil Kumar said that they believe in the rights of the farmers, and will stand by them in their fight against black agricultural laws. The Congress leader said that he himself will join the support of farmers along with Congress workers and leaders on Ghazipur border.
BSP chief Mayawati also extended her support and said, “The farmers of the country do not endorse the three farm laws brought in a hurry by the Centre, and are sad about it”.
She said her party supports their call for a peaceful Bandh and asked the Centre to hold proper consultations with farmers and bring a new law with their agreement.
Samajwadi Party took to Twitter to show its support to the Bandh and said, “Samajwadi Party fully supports the “Bharat Bandh” called yesterday by the agitating farmers against the black agricultural laws of the BJP government. The government should withdraw the anti-farmer black laws.”
In Kerala, both the ruling LDF and the Congress-led UDF have supported the nationwide farmers’ strike, even as the BJP denounced the hartal as “anti-people”.
INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan told PTI that since the hartal has the support of both LDF and UDF, the state is expected to come to a standstill on Monday.
He said except for RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), all other trade unions are supporting the strike. He, however, added that there would be no blocking of vehicles or forced shutting down of shops.
On Saturday, Andhra Pradesh’s TDP had announced total support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ to be observed on September 27.
YSRCP Farmers Wing State President MVS Nagi Reddy extended his support to the nation-wide bandh on Monday, expressing solidarity with the farmers’ associations.
Meanwhile, All India Kisan Sabha and AICCTU activists took part in a torch rally in Bihar’s Patna on the eve of their Bharat Bandh call on September 27.
POLICE TIGHTENS SECURITY AS FARMERS’ UNION CALL FOR SHUTDOWN
The Delhi Police said adequate security arrangements will be made to maintain law and order situation in the national capital in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
No protestor will be allowed to enter Delhi from the three protest sites at the city’s borders, a senior police official said.
“The security will be preventive and we are fully alert. There is no call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ in Delhi, but we are watching the developments and adequate number of personnel will be on ground,” another officer said.
The Ghaziabad Police has also issued an advisory in view of the announcement of the shutdown.
Ghaziabad Police has ordered diversion of routes tomorrow on several main roads and intersections including Peripheral, Hapur octroi, UP-Ghazipur border.