Bharat Bandh ends peacefully in UP with mixed response
The Bharat Bandh, called by various farmers’ unions against three central agricultural laws drew a mixed response in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday even as about 1,300 people were detained by police to avert law and order problems.
Markets and offices remained largely open while Samajwadi Party, Congress, RLD, Left parties’ workers and some other unions held protests in several districts and even held up a train in Prayagraj.
UP’s director general of police (DGP) HC Awasthy said no untoward incident was reported from across the state. He said police and administrative officials remained vigilant all through the day.
“Some people who violated section 144 of Cr PC (which prevents assembly of five or more people at one spot) and Covid-19 protocols were detained to maintain law and order,” the DGP said.
Additional director general (ADG) of police (law and order) Prashant Kumar said about 1,300 people involved in blocking roads or forcibly closing markets were detained.
He also said some politicians, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and SP and Congress leaders, were confined to their houses to avert any untoward incident.
VISIBLE IN WEST UP
The bandh was most visible in western UP’s Meerut region, but it passed off without any untoward incident.
The police were prepared for the day and either restrained leaders from various farmers’ outfits and political parties, or put them under house arrest, including Azad at his house in Saharanpur district. Trucks and buses remained off the roads for most parts of the day.
Activists and leaders of BKU, BKU (Tomar), Bhartiya Kisan Sabha, Kisan Vichar Manch and Bhartiya Kisan Andolan blocked Delhi-Pauri highway at Mawana Khurd in Meerut district. Leaders and activists of BKU (Bhanu), led by it vice president Choudhary Diwakar Singh blocked traffic at Rajabpur Toll Plaza in Amroha on Delhi-Lucknow highway.
In Agra region, impact of the closure was not much in urban areas and the supporters for the bandh remained mainly active in the rural areas belt and on expressways and roads.
“In Prayagraj, SP workers clashed with police at many places. They stopped the Bundelkhand Express at Prayagraj station and raised slogans while sitting on the railway track,” Allahabad superintendent of police (city) Dinesh Kumar Singh said. “Those who tried to hold up the train were taken into custody,” he added.
In Lucknow, SP leaders sat on a silent dharna near the statue of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh at Vidhan Bhawan. SP MLCs Rajpal Kashyap, Sunil Singh Sajan, Anand Bhadauria and Ashu Malik were part of the protest. Some protests were also reported from different parts of the city.
However, life in Lucknow remained mostly unaffected with Lucknow commissioner of police (CP) DK Thakur saying that stray incidents of protests were reported but everything remained peaceful and traffic remained uninterrupted.
Lucknow’s district magistrate Abhishek Prakash said attendance in offices was normal. “The impact of the closure was zero in Lucknow as all markets and mandis were open,” he said.
UPSRTC regional manager PK Bose said, “Passenger flow was less as compared to other days. However, operation-wise it was a normal day.”
In Bundelkhand region, the response to bandh was partial. In Mainpuri, lawyers abstained from work and business at the wholesale grain market was affected, while for other establishments it was a normal day.
Despite some protests by SP and Congress workers in Gorakhpur, shops were open and traffic was usual.
(With agency inputs )