“There has been an unprecedented response, beyond anyone’s expectations, to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s call for Bharat Bandh today”, the umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions said in a press note.
“Since 6 in the morning, images of farmers’ groups keeping vigil on deserted highways and empty markets have been pouring in from all over the country. This response nails the lie of the government’s propaganda and shows how solidly the people of India stand with the farmers in their historic struggle,” read the press note.
Farmer organisations have called a Bharat Bandh today as part of their long protest seeking withdrawal of Narendra Modi government’s three farm laws that they allege will give power to private firms to take over the agriculture sector.
Complete shutdown has been reported from states like Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Bihar, where all kinds of institutions, markets, and transport have been closed down. The call for Bharat Bandh has received extensive support in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, claimed SKM.
Farmers’ organisations have been joined by trade unions, youth and student orgainsations, and political parties in different parts of the country.
Educational institutions, government offices, private sector establishments, and markets are closed in most parts of the country, the press note states.
Reports of major national and state highway closures are pouring in. Railway tracks have also been blocked in many states.
There has been no untoward incident reported from any part of the country so far. Samyukt Kisan Morcha has reiterated that the bandh is voluntary and there is no room for the violence of any kind.
Our Bharat Bandh was successful: Tikait
“Our Bharat Bandh was successful. 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 govt, but no talks are happening,” says BKU leader Rakesh Tikait.
He adds, “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 govt has failed completely. Crops are not being sold at MSP rates.”