Bharat Bandh today to mark a year of farm laws, police step up security
The Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws may disrupt traffic during the 10-hour general strike with police in several states putting in elaborate security arrangements to prevent farmer bodies and opposition parties to disrupt normal life. SKM has said that the nationwide strike will be observed from 6am to 4pm and that all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will be closed across the country.
However, all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted, it has said. SKM has put out detailed guidelines and called for complete peace during the strike and also appealed to all citizens of the country to join the Bharat Bandh.
“Roads will be closed, but if someone wants to go to the doctor's clinic, they can go. Ambulances, vegetable and milk vehicles will run. Apart from that, everything will be closed. All traders and shopkeepers should support the bandh,” SKM leader Rakesh Tikait told news agency ANI. “We will not go inside Delhi during the bandh. Where there are toll blocks, they will be closed. This is the movement of the common people. People should take a day off and leave the house only after 4 o'clock,” Tikait added.
The Bharat Bandh called by SKM, a collective of more than 30 farmer organisations protesting the three farm laws, has garnered support from more than 500 farmer organisations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments and others, farm leaders have claimed. “More than 605 farmers have been martyred, including two deaths related to police brutalities. The Modi government is behaving in an extremely undemocratic and inhuman way against farmers, and BJP will certainly bear the consequences of this,” SKM said in a statement on Sunday.
State governments of Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh protest. Left parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh. Many other parties like the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janata Dal (Secular), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), SAD-Sanyukt, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Swaraj India and others have also supported the call for Bharat Bandh on Monday.
Central trade unions will organise a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi at 11am on Monday. Several bar associations and local units of the All India Lawyers' Union have also extended their support.
(With agency inputs)