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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Bandh disrupts life in farm stir centres, gets mixed response in other states

The bandh was almost complete in Punjab where protesters blocked rail and roads at 550 places and markets remained shut in state, barring in Mohali district bordering joint capital Chandigarh.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 28, 2021 10:04:58 am
Farmers block NH-95 in Ludhiana.

The 10-hour Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) against three contentious farm laws hit normal life in Punjab and Haryana Monday as protesters blocked highways and link roads, squatted on railway tracks, while shops, educational institutions, commercial establishments and ‘mandis’ remained shut.

The bandh was almost complete in Punjab where protesters blocked rail and roads at 550 places and markets remained shut in state, barring in Mohali district bordering joint capital Chandigarh. Protester strength was, however, thin. In Punjab, the bandh call was supported by the ruling Congress apart from the Aam Admi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The SKM said the Bharat Bandh call received an “unprecedented and historic” response from more than 23 states and not a single untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

Around 50 trains in the North were affected by the bandh. Dharnas, on national and state highways and link roads, started at 6 am and continued till 4 pm.

The farmers who have been protesting at Tikri border, squatted on the tracks at Bahadurgarh railway station in Haryana while others staged protests on railway lines at Jagraon, Barnala, Mansa, and Sangrur in Punjab.

In Haryana, the bandh had an impact in 17 out of 22 districts.

Bharat bandh Farmers block a road at the Mullanpur-Chandigarh barrier during the Bharat bandh on Monday (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

A Haryana Police spokesperson said: “The impact was largely seen in the form of road and rail blockades and hampered the inter-city road and rail movement, but did not have much impact on the activities within towns and cities.” In Karnal, the home town of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, a large number of shops were closed since morning.

The impact in other states was varied. A look at some of them:

Kerala

The ruling LDF and opposition Congress-led UDF supported hartal in Kerala disrupted daily life in the state due to closure of shops and non-operation of public transportation, but it was generally peaceful, as private means of travel was unaffected, with one solitary incident of violence being reported from Kozhikode district.

Bandh Protests held during the bandh in Pune on Monday (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

West Bengal

Left Front workers blocked roads and railway tracks. Life in the state remained largely unaffected by the all-India strike. Markets and shops were open as usual while public transport operated almost normally, except for a few impediments. Government and private offices registered usual attendance. The ruling TMC stayed away from the strike but expressed support for the protesters’ demands.

Rajasthan

The effect of bandh was visible in many districts of Rajasthan, including agriculture-dominated Ganganagar and Hanumangarh where the major mandis and markets remained closed. Farmers took out rallies on the major roads and held meetings.

The effect was visible in many districts including Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bikaner, Sikar and Nagaur. Mandis and markets were partially closed. The bandh also affected train services in the border districts.

Patiala: Members of Bhartya Kisan Union Ugrahan block the railway tracks during farmers’ Bharat Bandh strike, at Dhablaan village near Patiala, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (PTI Photo)(PTI09_27_2021_000017B)

Maharashtra

The Bharat Bandh call did not evoke a response strong enough to shut down Maharashtra or Mumbai. Small protests by farmers’ organisations and non-BJP parties were held across the state. The Congress and the NCP, who are part of the ruling coalition in the state, took out protest marches and bike rallies in some districts and cities. The Shiv Sena stayed away.

Gujarat

Except isolated incidents in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, the farmers’ call for a general strike had no significant impact on normal life on rainy Monday as police took dozens of farmers and leaders into preventive custody.

Heavy traffic jam on Delhi- Gurugram expressway due to barricading by Delhi Police, in the view of farmers’ Bharat Bandh, near Sirhaul Toll Plaza in Gurugram (PTI)

Tamil Nadu
Farmer bodies, trade unions, including those backed by the ruling DMK and Left parties on Monday staged protests across Tamil Nadu. Normal life was, however, not affected with public and private transport functioning as usual. Retail outlets, commercial establishments, banks and government offices also were open.

With ENS Chandigarh, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and PTI

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