Thousands of farmers are observing a 12-hour long 'Bharat bandh' today to strengthen their four-month agitation against the Centre's three contentious farm laws passed in September last year. The bandh is called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) that began at 6 am on Friday and will conclude at 6 pm on the same day. The Bharat bandh is likely to impact the transport services as well as escalate the traffic problem, especially in the national capital Delhi.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha has called for a 12 hour long ‘Bharat Bandh’ today, protestors block the road at Singhu Border pic.twitter.com/CIxfHmGZuF— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
According to a statement released by the SKM, farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for the last four months and instead of accepting their demands, the government is discrediting them completely.
Here's all you need to know about Bharat Bandh:
1. Rail and road transportation may get affected
Due to Bharat Bandh, the rail and road transportation services are likely to be affected in parts of the country as the farmers' unions have said that all small and big roads and trains will be blocked.
Earlier today, several protesters blocked railway tracks in Amritsar, Punjab. In Ambala, the demonstrators blocked GT Road and railway track near Shahpur in view of Bharat bandh, news agency ANI reported.
Punjab: Protestors block railway track in Amritsar as a mark of protest against the three agricultural laws during 'Bharat Bandh' called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha pic.twitter.com/dAZgfXa3yw— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
2. Markets may remain close in several parts of the country
The SKM has appealed to close all shops, malls, markets, and institutions on Bharat Bandh day. All services will remain suspended except for ambulance and other essential services.
3. Farmers may not observe bandh in poll-bound states
The SKM leaders said in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry, the farmers will not be observing Bharat Bandh.
4. Delhi traders' organisation refuses to participate in bandh
The Chambers of Trade and Industry, a body representing traders in Delhi, said they support farmers' demand but shops and factories will remain open during the 'Bharat Bandh'. "We discussed it with business owners and traders. Most of them said they support the demands of the farmers and the Centre should find a solution to the issue," CTI chairman Subhash Khandelwal said.
5. Odisha declares closure of educational institutes
The Odisha government has declared the closure of all educational institutions across the state in view of the nationwide Bharat Bandh.
6. Delhi traffic updates in view of Bharat bandh
The Delhi traffic police informed that the Ghazipur border NH-24 (both carriageways) has been closed for traffic movement. "Traffic Alert Traffic movement is closed on Ghazipur Border NH-24 (Both carriageway), Kindly avoid the stretch. COVID PRECAUTIONS: WEAR MASK, MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING, KEEP HAND HYGIENE," Delhi Traffic Police tweeted. On Friday, farmers blocked the Ghazipur border (Delhi-UP border) to strengthen their movement against the Centre's three farm laws.
Protesters are sitting at 31 locations across Punjab and Haryana spanning Delhi, Ambala & Firozepur division affecting rail movement. Train services affected at 32 locations, 4 Shatabdi trains cancelled: Indian Railways#BharatBandh— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
7. Delhi Police's security arrangement for Bharat Bandh
The Delhi Police said adequate security arrangements have been put in place in view of the 'Bharat Bandh'. Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said there will be intense patrolling to maintain peace in the national capital.
8. Why farmers have called for Bharat Bandh
Farmers want to intensify their months-long agitation, asking the Centre to repeal the three agricultural laws. They have also asked for the cancellation of all police cases against farmers, rollback of "electricity bill and pollution bill" and cut in fuel prices.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November 26, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for the minimum support price of their crops. So far, there have been 11 rounds of talks between the protesting unions and government, but the deadlock continues as both sides stuck to their stands. In January, the government offered to suspend the farm laws for 12-18 months, which was rejected by the farmer unions.
Also read:Bharat Bandh on March 26: Ghaziabad shops to remain open, say officials
Bharat Bandh on March 26: Farmers call for countrywide strike from 6 am to 6 pm