Bharat Bandh: Traffic Affected, Trains Delayed, Shutdown in Several States
Farmers' Union thanked the public for making Bharat Bandh a success as AAP, Congress backed the farmers' protests.
Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Protesting against the Union government's three contentious agricultural laws, farmers across the country observed a Bharat Bandh from 6 am to 4 pm on Monday, 27 September. The farmers' unions have been demanding the scrapping of the three laws.
The police beefed up the security arrangements close to all the three border points between Delhi and Haryana – Tikri, Singhu, and Shambhu – where farmers have been protesting for the past 10 months. Meanwhile, a farmer, who was protesting at the Singhu border, reportedly died due to cardiac arrest.
On Monday, hundreds of protesting farmers blocked major highways, including National Highway 1 linking Delhi with parts of Haryana and Punjab at Shahabad in Haryana's Kurukshetra, and the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana.
Vehicular Movement, Train Operations Affected
Resultantly, a massive traffic snarl emerged at the Gurugram-Delhi border in the morning as vehicles entering the national capital were being checked by Delhi Police and paramilitary jawans. In addition, vehicular movement was also hampered by the barricades on National Highway 48, which witnessed heavy deployment of security personnel.
Later, reports said that traffic was flowing smoothly as the police loosened the Rajokri border barricades. By 4 pm, the farmers had opened the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, allowing commuters to pass through. Regular vehicular movement was also resumed on the Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal road and the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal road.
Train operations were also reportedly affected in Delhi, Ambala and Firozpur divisions as people could be seen sitting on railway tracks. The Northern Railway later said that about 25 trains had been affected in Ambala and Firozpur divisions.
Several protests and rallies were also reported from Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat, among other states.
The Gujarat police detained about 25 protesters after the traffic movement on the national highway connecting Surat to Mumbai was blocked.
SKM, BKU Thank the Public for Making Bharat Bandh a Success
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) later said that no untoward incident had been reported from any part of the country and added that the bandh was voluntary and there was no room for violence of any kind.
"Complete shut-down has been reported from states like Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Bihar, where all kinds of institutions, markets and transport has been closed down. The call for Bharat Bandh has received extensive support in Rajasthan, UP, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, TN, Karnataka and MP. Reports are awaited from other parts of the country," the body said in a statement.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait called the bandh "successful" and said, "We had the full support of farmers... We can't seal down everything as we have to facilitate the movement of people. We are ready for talks with the government, but no talks are happening."
"He (Yogi Adityanath) had promised in the manifesto to raise the value of sugarcane to Rs 375-Rs 450, yet he increased only Rs 25. He should give an account of the losses faced. The government has failed completely. Crops are not being sold at MSP rates," Tikait was quoted as saying by ANI.
He later took to Twitter to thank all those who had participated in the Bharat Bandh on Monday.
"Heartfelt gratitude to the youth and businessmen including farmers, workers, students, employees and trade unions across the country, who supported the Bharat Bandh even after facing hardships, for making the Bharat Bandh unprecedented and historic," he stated.
"Bharat Bandh was a success; the public supported it. It's okay if the public experienced some inconvenience, let one day be in solidarity with farmers who have been experiencing troubles (protesting against farm laws at Delhi border) under the sun, heat for last ten months."
The SKM, too, issued a statement thanking all those who participated in the bandh.
"Resounding widespread response that is unprecedented and historical, to the Bharat Bandh call given by the farmers' movement - People of India tired of Modi Government's adamant, unreasonable and egoistic stand on protesting farmers' legitimate demands, and anti-people policies in numerous sectors," the statement issued by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha read.
"SKM thanks lakhs of citizens and thousands of organisations which participated in today's Bandh and made it a great success – remarkable unity and solidarity witnessed around the country today," the statement added.
Protesting Farmer Dies of Cardiac Arrest at Singhu Border
A farmer, who was protesting against the three farm laws, died at the Singhu border due to cardiac arrest, multiple reports suggested.
Baghel Ram, 55, who was a member of Kirti Kisan Union (KKU) and a resident of Khela village in Punjab, had not been keeping well for a while and was resting in his tent, said another KKU member, Raghuveer Singh, according to IANS.
The police said as soon they received the information, they rushed Baghel to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The post-mortem revealed the reason for death to be heart attack.
Congress, AAP Back Farmers' Protests
Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reaffirmed his support to the farmers.
"Farmers' non-violent satyagraha is intact even today, but the exploitative government does not like this, and that is why we have Bharat Bandh today," Gandhi posted on Twitter in Hindi.
The Congress party had asked all its workers, state unit chiefs and heads of frontal organisations to take part in the Bharat Bandh. Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said that the party workers would extend "full support to the peaceful Bharat Bandh".
The newly-instated Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had also tweeted in support of the farmers' protest.
"I stand with farmers and appeal the Union government to repeal the three anti-farmer laws. Our farmers have been struggling for their rights for more than a year, and it is high time that their voice is heard. I request the farmers to raise their voices in a peaceful manner," he had said.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu asked party workers to support the protest by farmers.
"Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by farmer unions' demand for Bharat Bandh on September 27, 2021. In the war of right and wrong, you cannot afford to be neutral. We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three unconstitutional black laws," Sidhu had said in a tweet.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, backed the protest of the farmers.
"This is a very sad occasion that on the occasion of Bhagat Singh's birthday, farmers had to call for a Bharat Bandh. It has been almost a year since the farmers are trying to convince the government. This is an independent India. If we don't even listen to our farmers in independent India, who will?" he said.
"All their demands are correct, and since the beginning, we have backed them. I appeal to the central government to listen to their demands as soon as possible so that they can go back home and start their work. Enough talks have been held with the agriculture minister. Now he should just announce that we are listening to their demands," he added, reported ANI.
PM Modi Has Always Respected Farmers: Sambit Patra
BJP leader Sambit Patra on Monday, 27 September, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always respected farmers and maintained that the government is open to talks.
Talking about Monday's 'Bharat Bandh' protests, he said, "PM Narendra Modi has always respected farmers & calls them 'annadatas'. Modi Govt has taken historic decisions in the interests of farmers, be it increasing MSP, insurance scheme, or in terms of crop procurement," reported ANI.
Calling it a political move, he added, "Unfortunately, some parties are doing this to fulfill their political ambitions. India is witnessing this. PM & agriculture minister have said that Govt is always open for talks. The issue must be resolved through talks, in line with our democratic values."
Meanwhile, activist and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav also attended the farmers' protest at Ghazipur.
The Indian diaspora could also be seen protesting in support of the Bandh in Winnipeg, Canada.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, IANS and NDTV.)
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