Bharat Bandh: Stepping up their agitation against the Centre's newly enacted farm laws, the protesting farmers are going to observe a countrywide Bharat Bandh on Friday, March 26. Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading the anti-farm law protests, has urged citizens of the country to make the nationwide strike a complete success.
The Bharat Bandh is going to be observed on completion of four months of farmers' agitation against the Centre's three new farm laws at Delhi borders. The SKM has reportedly planned several protests over the days, which comprises the "burning of anti-farmer laws during Holika Dehan."
As per a statement released by the front of the protesting farmer unions, farmers have been protesting on Delhi's borders for the last four months, and rather than acknowledging their demands, the Centre is discrediting them entirely.
On March 26, from 6 am to 6 pm, all road and rail transport, markets, and other public places will be closed across the country, the statement added.
However, this is not necessary for the places where elections are going to be held, it said.
"We appeal to the people of the country to make this Bharat Bandh a success and honour their 'Annadata'," farmer leader Darshan Pal said.
Farmers organised programmes across the country on Martyrdom Day on Tuesday. A torch procession was taken out at Bhatgaon, Sonipat, in Haryana.
In Ashok Nagar, Madhya Pradesh, young people wrote slogans of "Inquilab Zindabad" with their blood and organised a blood donation camp, the statement said.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said the farmers' agitation will continue till the time the Centre rolls back the farm laws and provides a legal guarantee on MSP.
Referring to cases registered against many farmers in the aftermath of incidents on January 26 in Delhi, Tikait said, "Farmers are not scared of cases. This agitation will continue so long the Centre does not withdraw these laws and until the time a law is framed giving a legal guarantee on MSP."
"This agitation will go till November-December," he said, while making it clear that the government should not be mistaken that farmers were going anywhere.
"The government thinks farmers will return home in summer. Earlier they thought we would go back home in peak winter. But we are not going anywhere, we have installed fans, etc there," he said, addressing a farmer 'Mahapanchayat'.
Anyone helping farmers in their agitation is facing harassment from government agencies, he alleged.
Claiming that the farm laws were not in favour of farmers, Tikait said the next target of the Centre is to create a situation where "farmers will eventually leave their land."
"It is their plan to take away your land in the next 20 years," he added. "Their target is to turn farmers into labourers, and once that happens, they will get cheap labourers from villages for factories," Tikait said.
He also thanked farmers of Haryana and 'khaps' (caste council) of the state for supporting this agitation. Tikait also called upon the farmers to be ready to move towards Delhi whenever required.
Hundreds of farmers have been camping near Delhi's borders since November last year, demanding that the Centre repeal the three contentious farm laws.
The farmer leader said that a nationwide movement against the farm laws has started and the youth have a big responsibility now.
Tikait said the country will be saved when slogans of "Jai Ram" and "Jai Bhim" are raised together. Enacted in September 2020, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
The protesting farmers, on the other hand, have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the minimum support price and do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
A meeting was organised at the collectorate chaired by ADM (City) Shailendra Kumar Singh on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming 'Bharat Bandh' call by farmers' unions on March 26, officials said.
Participation in the countrywide 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the farmers' unions on March 26 against the three farm laws would be optional for the traders, according to a few office-bearers.
General Secretary of Mahanagar Vyapar Mandal Ashok Chawla told PTI that the association would remain neutral during the 'Bharat Bandh'.
No association would force anybody to close their shops or compel them to keep it open as traders are free to take decisions on their own, Chawla added.
In the meeting, all the problems regarding COVID-19, 'Bharat Bandh', and deposition of arms licenses during panchayat elections were discussed, he further said.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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