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Farmer Unions across the nation observed ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Tuesday, 8 December, to press for the repeal of the central government's newly passed farm laws. The nationwide strike has been supported by the Opposition parties and several trade unions.
Several states across the country participated in the farmers' strike.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had asked all states and Union territories to enforce COVID-19 health and safety protocols strictly and make adequate security arrangements during the nationwide shutdown.
Hundreds of Delhi Congress activists on Tuesday staged a protest and stopped traffic near the Income Tax Office (ITO) chowk in the national capital in support of the 'Bharat Bandh’.
The workers under the leadership of party unit chief Chaudhary Anil Kumar stopped the traffic on the Vikas Marg. They held placards and banners in their hands and raised slogans against the central government demanding the repealing of the three farm laws.
Meanwhile, a section of auto and taxi unions also supported the nationwide strike and decided to keep their vehicles off the roads in the national capital. Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, that represents drivers working with cab aggregators, claimed most of its members were on strike, reported PTI.
However, other auto and taxi unions claimed that the strike will not have any impact on transport facilities in Delhi.
Various farmers organisations are protesting against the farm laws in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Members of Aika Horata Samiti staged a protest near the Mahatama Gandhi statue at Maurya circle in Bengaluru, The Indian Express reported.
Protesters have blocked Bengaluru-Mysuru highway at Ijoor circle in Ramanagara.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar also joined the farmers protest in Bangalore’s Ramanagara.
All government offices, banks and shops were functioning normally with the Karnataka farmers Associations deciding to observe a 12-hour Bharat Bandh (India Shutdown), across the state other than the tech hub.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that no one is supporting the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
Several workers' unions, including the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees, are also extending moral support to the bandh call.
“The day-long bandh will be observed across the state except in Bengaluru, where the shutdown will be held on Wednesday, as our farmers are in towns and villages to stage demonstrations and participate in protest rallies,” Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandreshakar had told IANS.
Meanwhile, the Congress party state unit that has extended its full support to the farmers’ bandh call, held a symbolic sit-in protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha ahead of attending the legislature session.
The call for the nationwide strike received a partial response in West Bengal with protesters burning the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, business honchos Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani on Jessore Road, Kolkata.
The protesters staged a road blockade near Lake Town and Bangur virtually choking the key arterial stretch that connects Shyambazar through Dum Dum.
West Bengal's Left Front-backed organisations also gathered at Kolkata's Jadavpur 8-B bus stand area supporting the shutdown.
Tram and bus services were also disrupted in Kolkata's College Street area as agitators staged protests on Tuesday morning. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) youth arm members also demonstrated at Esplanade area in support of the shutdown.
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has extended “moral support” to the nationwide strike and in solidarity will stage sit-ins in various parts of the state for the next three days.
The state's incumbent formation, however, said that it would not enforce the strike called by the farmers as the party is against bandh culture.
"We support the issues raised by the farmers. We will hold protest programmes and sit-in demonstrations. The farmers have our moral support," veteran Trinamool Congress MP Sougata Roy said.
Making the appeal on behalf of 16 Left and associate parties, West Bengal Left Front (LF) chairman Biman Bose already urged the people of the state to make Bharat Bandh a grand success.
In Jalpaiguri's Dhupguri area, LF-backed protesters also disrupted public transport services in support of the 'Bharat Bandh'.
The Left and Congress parties' leaders are participating in the Bharat Bandh in Vijayawada.
Along with their cadres, a few leaders held their party flags while Congress supporters wore their tricolour 'kanuvas' (towels) as they demonstrated in front of the Vijayawada bus station, reported IANS.
Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Ramakrishna demanded that these farms Bills should be withdrawn in the coming days.
"These options of buying anywhere and selling anywhere is for the corporates to hoard and sell at any cost," said Ramakrishna.
He alleged that Modi is working for the benefit of corporates, reported PTI.
All educational institutions will be shut in the southern state on Tuesday while APSRTC buses will not run till 1 pm. Similarly, government offices will open after 1 pm.
On Monday, Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu said the state government will allow peaceful farmers' protest.
Meanwhile, normal life remained unaffected in Arunachal Pradesh.
Private cars and public transport were seen on the roads as usual. All the markets and business establishments remained open, and government and private offices, including banks, functioned normally, reported PTI.
Supporters of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) and Left parties participated in a massive protest march in Patna.
They blocked the Dak Bungalow Chowk intersection leading to disruption of traffic.
JAP supporters carried paddy on their heads apart from traditional farming equipment to protest the three farms Bills passed by the Parliament.
JAP Chief Pappu Yadav said the NDA government must roll back the three 'black laws' and implement the Swaminathan Commission report on the agriculture sector.
During the protest, supporters of the RJD and the JAP blocked the way of more than two dozen cars, forcing the drivers to turn back, reported IANS.
In Rajasthan, mandis remained closed but several shops were open as usual. Rajasthan Congress Transport minister visited Civil Lines, Sodala, MI Road and other areas on a tractor and other vehicles in support of the bandh.
"The impact is clearly visible in towns and villages. All the mandis in the state are closed and the bandh is going on peacefully," Kisan Mahapanchayat president Rampal Jat said, reported PTI.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)
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