Over two dozen farmers’ organizations from all across the country called for Bharat Bandh, supported by 18 political parties including the Congress, and take to the streets on Friday protesting the farm bills passed by the Parliament. Punjab and Haryana will be the epicentre of the protests, though the demand for legal guarantee of minimum support prices (MSP) has garnered supports from all farmers organizations, including those affiliated to the RSS. Normal life is likely to be disrupted as rail, road movement will be hit.
All India Farmers Union (AIFU), Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) announced a nationwide bharat bandh. Farmers’ bodies from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have also called for a shutdown.
RSS-affiliated farmers’ organizations like Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagran Manch are also demanding amendment to the legislations but they won’t be taking part in the protest today.
Ten central trade unions, including All India Trade Union Congress, National Trades Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, All India United Trade Union Centre and Trade Union Coordination Centre have also extended their support.
The Bharat Bandh has been supported by the Congress along with other parties including AAP, the Left parties, NCP, DMK, SP, Trinamool Congress, RJD. The parties urged the President to not sign the bills.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has urged the farmers to maintain law and order and to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols. No FIR will be registered for the violation of Section 144 during the protest, the CM has said.
Fourteen special passenger trains running from the railways’ Ferozepur division have been cancelled from September 24 to 26 in view of the farmer outfits’ three-day rail roko protest. The trains that were suspended include Golden Temple Mail (Amritsar-Mumbai Central), Jan Shatabdi Express (Haridwar-Amritsar), New Delhi-Jammu Tawi, Sachkhand Express (Nanded-Amritsar), and Shaheed Express (Amritsar-Jaynagar).
The farmers organizations have decided to go for an indefinite rail blockage from October 1.