Farmers’ outfits are observing a Bharat Bandh today to protest against the controversial new agriculture laws, with several trade and transport unions extending support and almost all opposition parties too backing their demands.
Although farmer leaders are saying that their strike will remain peaceful and that no shops and establishments will be forcibly closed on account of the Bandh, reports of trains being stopped and blocking of roads have been reported from various parts of the country.
“There will be complete ‘Bharat bandh’ till 3 pm Tuesday, but emergency services will be allowed,” farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal told reporters on Monday. The farmer leaders had earlier announced their intention to block all roads leading to Delhi, which has emerged as the epicentre of the protests against the farm laws, and occupy all toll plazas, but on Monday said they do not want to inconvenience the common people and have, hence, kept the timing of the chakka jam (blockade) from 11am to 3 pm.
On the eve of the nationwide strike, the Centre asked all states and Union Territories to tighten security and that peace and tranquillity must be maintained during the strike. A home ministry official told PTI that states have been directed to take precautionary measures so that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country. In its advisory, the Union Home Ministry also said that the respective governments must ensure that the Covid-19 guidelines issued with regard to health and physical distancing are strictly followed. The farmers call for the strike has garnered widespread support as trade unions, worker unions, some taxi unions and almost all opposition parties have extended support. The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress, DMK and its allies, TRS, RJD, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party and the Left are among the political parties that are backing the strike.