As farmers protesting against three contentious agricultural laws hold an all-India strike – Bharat Bandh – today to mark four months of their agitation at Delhi’s borders, demonstrations have affected rail and road traffic.
Four trains were cancelled and more than 30 trains were stopped over agitations near railway stations in Delhi, Chandigarh, Firozpur and Amritsar.
Demonstrations were also reported at National Highway-9 near one of three protest epicenters in the national capital – the Ghazipur border. Policemen have set up barricades to block the movement of protesters. The farmers’ protest at the Delhi borders started on November 26 at three epicenters- Singhu border, Ghazipur and Tikri.
The protest will be held from 6 AM to 6 PM. “All shops, malls, markets and institutions will remain closed under complete Bharat Bandh. All minor and big roads and trains will be blocked. All services will remain suspended except for ambulance and other essential services. The effect of Bharat Bandh will be observed inside Delhi as well,” the release said.
However, the Confederation of All India Traders, which claimed representation of eight crore traders in the the country, said that markets will remain open as it is not participating in the ”Bharat Bandh”, PTI reported.
In a video message, Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal had earlier said that the supply of vegetables and milk will be stopped by the protesting farmers. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha – an umbrella body of protesting unions – also appealed to protesting farmers to be peaceful and not get involved in any conflict during the day-long protest.
“Protesters are advised to not get involved in any kind of illegitimate debate and conflict. It is a result of the patience of the farmers that the movement has gone so long that we are constantly getting success,” the release said.
In Delhi, market associations say they support the strike but they will keep the shops open as they’ve already suffered losses during lockdown.
Tight Security In Delhi In View Of Bharat Bandh ,All personnel of the Delhi Police will be on the ground as part of arrangements made by the police force for the Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions against the central farm laws.
Speaking to reporters, Chinmoy Biswal, Delhi Police Public Relations Officer, said security arrangements include Police Control Room (PCR) vans, Quick Response Team (QRT) vans and motorcycle patrolling teams.
“Delhi Police has made adequate law and order arrangements in view the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers. The entire Delhi Police will be on the ground. We are fully prepared; all district authorities have been directed to put all their men on the ground for patrolling from the morning itself,” Biswal said.
“We are fully prepared to ensure that the normal life is not affected. All our motorcycle patrolling teams, PCR vans and QRT vans will be on the ground so that no untoward incidents take place,” he added.
Moreover, Delhi Police has made adequate preparations at the borders of the national capital, where farmers have been protesting for four months.
“We have taken adequate measures at the borders as well. Barricades and pickets will be in place so that no person with ill intention cause disturbance and enter the city,” the Delhi Police Public Relations Officer said.
Despite several rounds of consultations, the government and the farmers’ bodies have failed to reach a consensus on the three agricultural laws.
On January 26, as the protest completed two months, the farmers had held a tractor rally which had ended in violence as the protesters over-ran the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort.