Bharat Bandh: Guj Farmer Leader Detained Over Press Conference
Farmer leaders had also said that copies of new farm laws will be burnt during ‘Holika Dahan’ on 28 March.
Farmer unions on Wednesday, 10 March, had called for a complete Bharat Bandh on 26 March, to celebrate the completion of four months since their protests against the Centre’s three new farm laws began on the borders of the national capital.
During the nationwide bandh on Friday, the police barged into a press conference in Gujarat, where several farmer leaders including Yudhvir Singh of BKU Tikait, were speaking to media and detained them.
According to the police, they didn't have the "permission" to hold the media conference.
Later, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) issued a special bulletin and wrote, “During Bharat Bandh programme today, many SKM leaders and cadre were picked up and detained by police in BJP-ruled states like Karnataka and Gujarat. This is an outright violation of Constitutional rights of citizens to protest peacefully...”
The bulletin, signed by farmer leader Darshan Pal, also publicly condemned Singh’s detention.
Trade union leaders, including Kavitha Kuruganti, Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, Bayyareddy, were similarly picked up by the police in Bengaluru, the bulletin added.
The notice also highlighted that women police was deployed in civil clothes to take in protestors at Bangalore’s Town Hall.
“BJP-ruled governments are brazenly violating basic norms and rules in their anxiety to suppress the farmers’ movement,” the SKM bulletin read
However, the pan-India bandh seemed to have had a minimal impact in Delhi, with no reports of disturbances on the road and on transport services. Metro, road transport and major markets remained open in the national capital on Friday, 26 March, noted PTI.
Entry, exit gates of Tikri border, Bahadurgarh city and Brigadier Hoshiar Singh metro stations, which were closed as a precautionary measure for a brief time, have also been reopened, added the report.
SKM had issued a call on Thursday, 25 March, asking people to make the Bharat Bandh a success. The strike has been called for 12 hours from 6am to 6pm.
As per a statement by the Indian Railways, protesters are sitting at 31 locations across Punjab and Haryana spanning Delhi, Ambala, and Firozpur division, affecting rail movement. Train services have been affected at 32 locations and four Shatabdi trains have been cancelled.
Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi also tweeted in support of the farmers’ movement saying, “India’s history is a witness to the fact that Satyagraha ends atrocities, injustice, and vanity.”
Rail and road transportation is likely to be affected across Punjab and Haryana as railway lines and roadways have been blocked by protesting farmers. Several markets will also remain closed. Ambulance and fire services however, will not be affected.
As per Delhi Traffic Police, both the carriageways on NH-24 passing through Ghazipur (Delhi-UP) have been closed in view of the 12-hour Bharat Bandh.
In Ambala, protesters have blocked GT Road and the railway track near Shahpur.
A group of farmers can also be seen singing and dancing for the completion of four months of agitation at the Ghazipur border:
Left-wing workers and SKM activists staged a protest in support of the strike by farmers in Ranchi.
Activists burn tyres in Patna on Friday, as they block a road in support of the farmers’ strike.
Farmers’ Intensification of Protests
Farm leader Buta Singh Burgill had spoken at the Singhu border and said, “We will observe a complete Bharat Bandh on 26 March, when our protest against the three farm laws completes four months. The peaceful bandh will remain effective from morning till evening,” PTI reported.
Trade unions and farmers also protested against the hike in fuel prices and privatisation of railways on 15 March, and on 19 march, the protesting farmers observed Mandi Bachao-Kheti Bachao Day.
Farmer leaders had also said that copies of new farm laws will be burnt during Holika Dahan on 28 March.
(With inputs from PTI)
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