New Delhi: As the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) has called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on September 27 – to mark the first anniversary of farmers’ protest against the three controversial farm laws getting Presidential assent – several opposition parties including Congress have directed their workers to partake in the nationwide strike.
Coming in support of the “peaceful” bandh, the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation requested the government to have a dialogue with the farmers on their demands and rescind the three laws at the centre of the standoff. The confederation said that its affiliates and state units will join in solidarity with the protest actions of the farmers all over the country on Monday.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has also extended support to the bandh, while leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav has announced that he will participate in the nationwide strike. The Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu governments, too, have declared complete support to the nationwide strike. Whereas, Congress has announced to join the protests on Monday.
Congress Party general secretary (organization), KC Venugopal, tweeted, “We believe in the right of our farmers and we will stand by them in their fight against the black farm laws,” Venugopal tweeted.
“All PCC Presidents, Chiefs of Frontal Organizations are requested to go out in front with our Annadatas in their peaceful Bharat Bandh across the country,” he added.
Besides Congress, Mahagathbandhan and the Left parties will also support ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by SKM on September 27.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions heading the farmers’ protest, has urged people to join the bandh against the farm laws.
Timings for the ‘peaceful’ bandh
The bandh will be held from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm during which 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. However, all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted. The bandh will be enforced in a voluntary and peaceful manner, the SKM has assured.
Why farmers’ have been protesting against agri-laws
Tens of thousand farmers have been protesting at the Delhi borders since November last year against the Centre’s three farm 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. The protesting farmers allege these “black laws” will end the ‘mandi’ and the MSP procurement systems, thus leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. However, the Centre is denying these allegations, claiming that these three agri-laws will increase farmers’ income.
So far, eleven rounds of talks have been held between the central government and the farmers union but they resulted in an impasse. After deliberations on January 22, talks have not resumed following violence during a tractor rally organised by protesting farmers on January 26.