Bharath Bandh: Farmers block highways, rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana; vehicular movement affected
New Delhi, Sep 27: Around 500 organisations, including national political parties, trade unions, farmers' associations, youth, teachers, labourers and others, have joined the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday to mark the one year passage of the NDA government's three farm laws.
The protesters blocked highways and other roads at many places in Punjab, where the ruling Congress has already extended its support for the bandh. In neighbouring Haryana too, protesters have blocked some highways, including in Sirsa, Fatehabad and Kurukshetra.
There were also reports of farmers squatting on rail tracks at a few places in the two states. Whereas a complete shutdown is being observed at several places, including Moga, where farmers blocked the Moga-Ferozepur and Moga-Ludhiana National Highways, in Punjab.
The Bathinda-Chandigarh National Highway too was blocked by farmers, sources said.
The Delhi-Amritsar National Highway has been blocked at Shahabad in Haryana's Kurukshetra by protesting farmers, agitating against farm laws.
The protests across the country have affected vehicular movement.
The bandh is being observed between 6 am and 4 pm during which all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions remained closed throughout the country, the SKM said.
"Ambulances, doctors or those going for an emergency can pass through. We've not sealed down anything, we just want to send a message. We appeal to the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed for now and open only after 4 pm. No farmer is coming here from outside, Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union said.
The Bharat Bandh is being supported by over 500 farmer organizations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments and varied sections of society.
The Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Jharkhand governments have extended support to the bandh.
The Aam Aadmi Party, Indian National Congress, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, SAD-Sanyukt, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Swaraj India and others have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh.
The farmers have been protesting against the controversial bills since 26 November against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The BJP government and the farmer unions held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains. The talks have not resumed since 22 January following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on 26 January.