UPDATED: December 8, 2020 | 13:30 IST
Security across the national capital was tightened as farmers and several Opposition parties, supporting the farmer unions in their agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, began the symbolic ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Tuesday. While the farmers said they will block key roads during their ‘Chakka Jam’ protest from 11 am to 3 pm as part of the Bharat Bandh, the Opposition parties took to the streets to take part in the nationwide shutdown, blocking roads and disrupting traffic.
Farmer leaders have, however, said the emergency services will be exempted, and appealed to their affiliates to not force anyone to join the shutdown. Protesting farmers will block key roads and occupy toll plazas during their ‘chakka jam’ protest from 11 am to 3 pm.
Several trains were cancelled in West Bengal and services of a few were briefly stopped in Maharashtra. Delhi borders have been shut and a heavy police force has been deployed to maintain law and order in view of the Bharat Bandh. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) workers burn tyre at Ganj Chowk in Darbhanga in protest against the central government and show their support to Bharat Bandh called by the farmer unions. Ghazipur border which connects Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh borders, NH 9 and NH 44 have been closed for traffic.
While the nation observes Bharat Bandh called by the farmer unions, the Union Home Ministry, in its advisory ahead of the nationwide shutdown, directed the states to ensure law and order is maintained and coronavirus guidelines are followed during the bandh. As the country observes Bharat Bandh, here’s a 10 point on what has happened so far.
BHARAT BANDH IN 10 POINTS
- Delhi Police has beefed up security at all border points and made arrangements to maintain law and order across the city, including market places. Delhi Police sources told India Today TV that many markets have decided to stay open on Bharat Bandh and hence, “more police personnel will be deployed there” so that they aren’t forced to close their shops.
- A police officer said there is the maximum deployment of Delhi Police personnel in the city to ensure the normal movement of people on the roads so that no one faces any kind of inconvenience. “Barricades have been placed at several places in Delhi. Police and the security forces in Delhi will stay on alert during Bharat Bandh,” sources said.
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay marg is blocked by the AAP volunteers. Congress workers staged a protest at ITO. The police force is deployed at the DDU marg.
- According to the Delhi Traffic Police, Tikri, Jharoda and Dhansa borders are closed for any traffic movement in view of the farmers’ protest and the Bharat Bandh today. “Tikri, Jharoda borders, Dhansa are closed for any traffic movement. Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two-wheelers. Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheeler traffic,” Delhi Traffic Police said.
- Lucknow DM imposed Section 144 in all rural areas of the Uttar Pradesh capital ahead of the Bharat Bandh, preventing gatherings of more than five people to ensure law and order. The authorities have prohibited any gatherings along with demonstrations, protests, or dharna under Section 144 of CrPC.
- Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana in Maharashtra staged a ‘Bharat Bandh Rail Roko’ protest and briefly stopped a train in Malkapur of Buldhana district. The protesters were later removed from the tracks by police and detained for causing disruption. Several protesters were detained in front of Janata Bhawan in Guwahati, Assam as they demonstrated against the farm laws in support of the farmers.
- Farmers protested against the farm laws in Mohali of Punjab and blocked the Chandigarh highway. Congress supporters were also present at the protest site. According to news agency ANI, paramilitary personnel have been directed to ‘exercise restraint’ as ‘some elements can create problems for forces’. Protestors raised slogans and marched in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
- Left political parties and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) protested at NH 16 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, blocking the road and disrupting traffic. Left parties also protested in Kolkata by raising slogans against farm laws and burned effigies in Jadavpur area. Speaking to ANI, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “In West Bengal, there is complete bandh in support of the peasant’s demand. We imagine similar situations prevailing across India as well.”
- BJP and Congress workers clashed in Jaipur after stone-pelting at BJP office in the city. According to the reports, the scuffle between the Congress and BJP supporters is due to the enforcement of Bharat Bandh in the city. The negligible impact of Bharat Bandh was seen in Jaipur.
- All examinations of Osmania University scheduled for Tuesday have been postponed due to the Bharat Bandh. The revised schedule will be out in due course of time. Examinations scheduled from December 9 will be held as per schedule, announced the Controller of Exams, Osmania University.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.