Nationwide shutdown over farm bills row on Friday: 10 points
Various farmer organisations have given a call for a nationwide protest (Bharat bandh) on Friday. These groups are protesting the passage of farm bills in Parliament. As many as 31 farmer groups, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), and 19 political parties have extended support to the strike.
These parties include Congress, Trinamool Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, and Telangana Rashtra Samithi.
Here are the 10 points about the protest:
* The leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in Punjab will stage a three-hour “chakka jam” to protest against the contentious bills. The road blockage will begin from 11 am. The railways has suspended several trains and partially cancelled 20 till September 26 in view of the strike and the “rail roko” agitation called in Punjab. The “rail roko” agitation began on Thursday and will continue for three days.
* In Haryana as well, several organizations have extended their support to the nationwide strike.
* In Delhi, the police are on high alert and will maintain high security at all border points amid the demonstrations. It will also seal its border with Haryana to prevent any untoward incident.
* In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party workers will support the strike in the state. In Congress-ruled Rajasthan, demonstrations are expected.
* The Congress had called the bills “anti-farmer” and on Thursday said it will challenge the “black laws” in court. It has termed them “unconstitutional” and against the country’s federal structure.
* The SAD has also described the bills as “anti-farmer”, and wants the government to withdraw them. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had even met President Ram Nath Kovind requesting him to not give assent to these bills.
* The three farm bill legislations - Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, were passed by Parliament earlier this week.
* The legislations have received staunch criticism from various farmers’ bodies and Opposition parties. The agitating farmers fear that these reforms will lead to end of the “Mandi system” and are only in the “interest of big corporates”.
* The government has maintained that these bills are in favour of farmers and will “revolutionise the agriculture sector”. The government also maintains that systems of the minimum selling price (MSP) and government procurement will continue unhindered and the passage of the bills do not affect them in any manner.
* The Opposition parties accuse the government of pushing through the bills in Rajya Sabha while ignoring calls by many members for a division of votes.
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