NEW DELHI: The Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) started today at 6 am and will remain till 4 pm. The 10-hour Bandh has been called to mark the one-year anniversary of the enactment of three agri laws.
The morning witnessed heavy police presence at various places in Haryana and Punjab to maintain and law and order in view of the Bandh. The agitating farmers
Assuring a peaceful enforcement of the bandh, the SKM issued guidelines and urged people to join the agitation. parked their tractors on highways and major link roads in both Punjab and Haryana and squatted on the road. The police diverted traffic at several places as the farmers blocked the highways.
The Delhi-Amritsar National Highway remained blocked at Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra by protesting farmers
The SKM informed that during the Bharat Bandh all government and private offices, educational institutions, shops and commercial establishments will be closed all over the country.
However, All emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal and medical emergencies, will be exempted from the bandh.
The Central Trade Unions will organise a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi at 11am today.
Extending support to the call of Bharat Bandh, the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation has also joined the protest to the farmers in solidarity and hence all banks shall remain closed for the day.
Several bar associations and local units of the All India Lawyers’ Union have also extended their support to the Bharat Bandh.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders since November, demanding the repeal of the three contentious farm laws that they fear would do away with the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on 22 January, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on 26 January.
The three laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — were passed by Parliament in September last year. The Centre has been projecting the three laws as major agricultural reforms.
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