Farm unions protesting against the central government’s three new farm laws have called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ (nationwide shutdown) on Friday, during which rail and road transport are likely to be interrupted in some parts of the country. Farmers’ leaders have made common people join them in the ‘Bharat Bandh’ to mark four months of their protest at various borders on the suburbs of the national capital.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of nearly 40 farm unions, said the ‘Bharat Bandh’ will be observed from 6 am to 6 pm across the country.
But, the poll-bound states of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, along with the Union Territory of Puducherry will be eliminated from this.
Top 10 points of ‘Bharat Bandh’:
1) Today marks four months of the farmers’ protest against the central government new agri-reform laws at various borders of Delhi–Singhu Border, Ghazipur Border and Tikri Border. The ‘Bharat Bandh’ call has been given to consider this time and seek renewed support from the people.
2) The ‘Bharat Bandh’ will begin at 6 am and will remain in force till 6 pm. At the time of the bandh, protesting farmers will block rail lines and major roads across the country.
“Farmers will block rail tracks in various places. Markets and transport services will be closed,” said farmers’ leader Balbir Singh Rajewal. He added that ‘Bharat Bandh’ will also be observed in the national capital.
3) Farm unions have claimed that apart from farmers’ bodies, organised and unorganised trade unions and transport associations have also promised support to their movement and would be participating in the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
4) “We appeal to the people of the country to make this Bharat Bandh a success and honour their ‘Annadata’,” farmer leader Darshan Pal said on Wednesday.
5) Farmers’ leader Abhimanyu Kohar said the major result of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ will be felt in Haryana and Punjab. He said farmers have requested trader associations to close their shops during the nationwide shutdown as the three new farm laws will also affect them indirectly.
6) Though, the Confederation of All India Traders, which claimed representation of eight crore traders in the country, told news agency PTI that markets will remain open on Friday because it is not participating in the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
“We are not going to participate in ‘Bharat Bandh’. Markets will remain open in Delhi and other parts of the country. The ongoing deadlock can be resolved only through the dialogue process,” CAIT’s national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal was quoted as saying by PTI.
7) When the rail and road transport will be blocked, farmers’ leaders said emergency services like ambulance and fire force will be allowed during the nationwide shutdown.
8) In four poll-bound states and Puducherry, farmers’ leaders have requested the people not to participate in the Bharat Bandh in their respective states.
9) In Odisha, the Department of Higher Education has declared that all colleges and universities will remain closed on Friday in connection to the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
10) The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the top religious body of the Sikhs, has supported the Bharat Bandh call given by farm unions and decided to close its offices on Friday.
SGPC president Jagir Kaur said the offices of the SGPC would be kept closed in support of the call of Bharat Bandh.
Over thousands of farmers, largely from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh have been nesting at various Delhi borders demanding a total withdrawal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for the minimum support price (MSP) on their crops.
Thus, the central government and farm unions have had 11 rounds of talks but deadlock continues as both sides are firm on their stand.