Bharat bandh, or complete shutdown that will be observed from 6am to 6pm today, is likely to hit rail and road transportation services as farmers have given a call for massive protest against the three agriculture laws passed in Parliament last year. The umbrella body of the protesting farmers’ union, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, (SKM) has said that March 26 marks four months of the farmer agitation at Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri. The markets may also be closed in parts of the country.
Farmers across the nation have been protesting since last year against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, which were passed by Parliament in September.
Here are the key developments:
• Protesters have blocked the Ghazipur border (Delhi-UP border) in view of 12-hour shutdown. Protesters have also blocked Ambala’s GT Road and railway track near Shahpur.
Ambala: Protesters block GT Road and railway track near Shahpur, in view of 12-hour 'Bharat Bandh' call by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against Centre's Farm Laws#Haryana pic.twitter.com/1D6k4qjPlN— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
• A group of protesters sing and dance at Ghazipur border during ‘Bharat Bandh’.
#WATCH A group of protesters sing and dance at Ghazipur border (Delhi-UP) during 12-hour 'Bharat Bandh' called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against Centre's Farm Laws pic.twitter.com/gkPWwKnTiP— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
• The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has supported the bandh, while the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh has expressed solidarity with the farmers’ union. In Andhra Pradesh, as the Bandh will be observed, the government institutions will open after 1pm and RTC buses will also begin operations in the afternoon. All emergency services will be operational as usual.
• Odisha school and mass education department has announced to close all schools in view of Bharat Bandh.
• CAIT’s national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI: “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 dialogue process. There should be discussions on amendments in the farm laws that can make existing farming profitable. The statement issued by the SKM claimed that various farmers’ organisations, trade unions, student organizations, bar associations, political parties and representatives of state governments have supported the bandh call of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
• Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar, who is also senior member of Samkyukta Kisan Morcha, said that the major impact of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ will be felt in Haryana and Punjab. Kohar said that farmers have appealed to trader associations to close their shops during the nationwide shutdown as the three new agri laws will also affect them indirectly. The farmer leader said that in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry, the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha has appealed to people to not observe ‘Bandh’ there.
• The complete shutdown has been kept optional for traders. General secretary of Mahanagar Vyapar Mandal, Ghaziabad, Ashok Chawla said no association will force anyone to close their shops or compel them to keep it open as traders are free to make their own decision.