Situation normal in Shimla, mixed response to Bharat bandh in other parts of Himachal
The situation across the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Himachal Pradesh remained peaceful with no major protests during a Bharat Bandh call in protest the government’s latest farm legislations . Things were normal in Shimla even as there was a mixed response in some cities with shops and businesses closed.
Though the Congress and the left parties extended support to the farmers’ agitation in the state, there was no major impact of the bandh on the capital. A majority of shops in town, including Lower Bazar and Totu Boileauganj remained open with regular milk and newspaper supplies.
Some shops in the vegetable market, however, were closed even as traffic remained normal with private buses on the roads. As precautionary measures the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), too, suspended bus services on 1,100 routes, mostly inter-district and inter-state.
Sit-in at Theog bazaar
Among places that remained closed were Rohru and Theog. A few shops that opened in Rohru bazaar downed shutters at 11 am. Theog, which has become the epicentre of agitations in Shimla district, was closed with Left oriented Kisan Sabha members led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator Rakesh Singha staging a sit-in at Theogh Bazar and blocking National Highway 5.
Addressing protestors, Singha criticised the National Democratic Alliance government’s farm legislations, saying the government had passed the bills in haste and compromised with the interests of the farmers.
Only a few shops remained open at Jubbal and Kotkhai.
Markets open in Kullu, Kangra
In Kullu, except for Sainj, the sub tehsil headquarters that was closed by traders, all the remaining urban and rural markets of the district were open with traffic running smoothly and the law and order situation under control.
In the lower regions of the state, Kangra did not report much of an impact. Most shops remained open as the district Beopar Mandal had decided not to participate in the bandh as had private transporters.
Kangra resident Rajesh Kumar said though the traders supported the farmers they could not keep businesses closed as they had suffered huge losses because of Covid-19.
Even as many areas were on alert with extra police force deployed to prevent any law and order situation, Congress workers staged demonstrations at various places in the district.
In Una, traders kept their shops closed in support of farmers’ protests. Private buses also remained off-road.
In the industrial area of Baddi, Youth Congress workers led by its president Nigam Bhandari staged a protest demonstration and also blocked the road.