The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called for a 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday, September 27, to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws.
Commercial establishments and industries are likely to be affected as the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers' unions, has called a Bharat Bandh today.
Timings of shutdown
Samyukta Kisan Morcha has said that the nationwide strike will be observed from 6 am to 4 pm today. During this period, all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will be closed throughout the country, the SKM said.
However, exemptions to the bandh include all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies. SKM has assured that the bandh will be enforced in a voluntary and peaceful manner.
"It was on September 27th that President Shri Ram Nath Kovind assented to and brought into force the 3 anti-farmer black laws last year. Tomorrow, there will be a total Bharat Bandh observed around the country from 6 am to 4 pm," SKM said in an official statement.
Services affected to be affected
In view of the protest, SKM has put out detailed guidelines and called for complete peace during the bandh. It also appealed to all citizens of the country to join the Bandh today.
SKM called for the closure of all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events. All emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted, it said.
"The roads will be closed, but if someone wants to go to the doctor's clinic, they can go. Ambulances, vegetable and milk vehicles will run. Apart from that, everything will be closed. All traders and shopkeepers should support the bandh. We will not go inside Delhi during the bandh. Where there are toll blocks, they will be closed. This is the movement of the common people. People should take a day off and leave the house only after 4 o'clock," Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Rakesh Tikait told news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, the Bharat Bandh garnered support from more than 500 farmer organizations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments and varied sections of society.
State governments of Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh protest.
Many non-NDA parties have extended support to the nationwide 10-hour strike on Monday called by farmers protesting against the three agri laws under the aegis of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM).
The Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Left parties and Swaraj India have backed the Bandh call.
So far, left parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party and many other parties like Indian National Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, SAD-Sanyukt, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Swaraj India and others have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh.
Moreover, Central Trade Unions will organise a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi at 11 am on Monday. Several bar associations and local units of the All India Lawyers' Union have extended their support.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders since November last year, demanding the repeal of the three contentious farm laws that they fear would do away with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations. They are also seeking a legal guarantee for MSP.
The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by farmers on January 26 when protesters had stormed the Red Fort and hoisted a religious flag on the ramparts.
"Punjab's new Chief Minister extended his support, and in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and RJD have been jointly planning for the success of the Bharat Bandh. In Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK supports the bandh," the statement by the SKM said.
In the national capital, the SKM said, central trade unions will organise a protest rally at Jantar Mantar at 11 AM. "Several bar associations and local units of All India Lawyers' Union have extended their support," the farmers' body said.
The Delhi Police said it has taken adequate security measures like intensified patrolling and deployment of extra personnel at pickets in border areas of the national capital. Every vehicle entering the national capital is being thoroughly checked, according to the police.
A Kisan Mahapanchayat was held on Sunday in Panipat just a day before the Bharat Bandh. There was a 'Mashaal juloos' in Jaipur on Saturday, in addition to such torch processions in Gurgaon, Palwal and Patna. In Mysuru, a bike rally was organised.
The SKM said that the birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on September 28 will be marked by the farmers' movement and urged the youth and students to join in large numbers at the morchas to mark the day. The SKM claimed that more than 605 farmers have lost their lives in the agitation so far.
The three laws -- The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 -- were passed by Parliament in September last year.
The government has been projecting the three laws as major agricultural reforms. Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)