Bharat Bandh Highlights: The Bharat bandh called by farmers unions protesting against the contentious new farm laws and supported by atleast 15 Opposition parties and trade unions evoked a mixed reaction, with mandis remaining shut in several states even as several shops opened shutters and transport services plied as usual. Emergency services were exempted and banks, too, continued operations.
Leaders of various political parties were confined to their houses, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, while Bhim Army workers were lathicharged as they headed to hold demonstrations in Ghazipur border. The Delhi Police has, however, denied the claim that Kejriwal was put under “house arrest”.
While the bandh has been largely peaceful, NSUI members holding a demonstration in support of protesting farmers clashed with BJP Yuva Morcha workers in Rajasthan’s Jaipur while in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district, police used water cannons to disperse agitators who were led by a Congress leader. Follow LIVE updates
The bandh comes ahead of tomorrow’s fresh round of talks between heads of farmer unions and the Centre. The farmers said they consider their demands “non-negotiable”, and the next round of talks will be dominated by the agenda of total repeal of the three farm laws through a special session of Parliament.
Here are the highlights from the Bharat bandh today:
Several Congress leaders detained in Gujarat
Several senior Congress MLAs and leaders across Gujarat were detained or put under house arrest on Tuesday afternoon after they came out on the roads in support of the nationwide shutdown or Bharat Bandh call given by farmers against the farm laws.
Incidents of arson have also been reported from Rajkot and Sabarkantha and Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets in some districts observed partial shutdown. According to Gujarat Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that bars assembly of more than four persons at a public place has been enforced across the state since Tuesday morning .
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi has alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been put under house arrest after he visited farmers at the Singhu border on Monday. “No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence…When our MLAs went to meet the chief minister they were beaten and thrown on the streets,” said party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj. DCP (North) Anto Alphonse, meanwhile, has denied all such allegations. “This claim of CM Delhi being put on house arrest is incorrect. He exercises his right to free movement within the law of the land. A picture of the house entrance says it all,” the Delhi Police said in a tweet.
BJP’s Delhi Police has put Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu Border yesterday
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) December 8, 2020
On the other hand, public transport services in the national capital remained largely unaffected even though some auto and taxi unions kept their vehicles off the roads in support of the shutdown. Auto and taxi services were normal at places like airport, bus stations and railway stations, commuters said. Most of the markets, including Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazar, in the city remained open even though there were not many customers.
Bandh has no effect in UP; Samajwadi Party holds up train
In Uttar Pradesh, shops and offices remained largely open, while the Samajwadi Party held protests in a number of districts and even holding up a train in Allahabad. Samajwadi Party workers came out on the streets in several areas, raising slogans in support of the ‘Bharat Bandh’, leading to clashes with police at many places. They stopped the Bundelkhand Express at Prayagraj station, and raised slogans while sitting on the railway track.
“Those who tried to hold up the Bundelkhand Express were taken into custody and the train later departed. Our teams are patrolling railway and bus stations and important places. So far, there has been no blockade of traffic and all markets are open,” PTI quoted Allahabad Superintendent of Police (city) Dinesh Kumar Singh as saying.
Banking activities in the state was also by and large normal. “The impact (of the Bharat Bandh) was zero in Lucknow as all the markets were open. The mandis were also open,” said District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash.
Leaders of various political parties were confined to their houses in Ghaziabad while Bhim Army workers were lathicharged as they headed to hold demonstrations in Ghazipur border. Bhim Army spokesman Satyapal Chaudhary said the Ghaziabad police lathicharged half-a-dozen party workers, leaving three persons injured. However, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said the workers were only detained.
Meanwhile, leaders of various opposition parties, including Congress district president Bijendra Yadav, claimed they were placed under house arrest for supporting the ‘Bharat Bandh’. SSP Naithani, though, said the politicians were kept under preventive custody at their homes.
Markets closed in Haryana’s Jind
Haryana farmers held a protest march in some parts of Punjab particularly in Fatehabad, Jind and Hisar. Some link roads are blocked and authorities have discontinued bus services to some routes from Jind. With their hookahs, farmers are sitting on dharna on Hisar-Jind national highway near Ikkas village to block the highway. Markets have also been closed in Jind town. Meanwhile, Haryana roadways employees are observing “chakka jam” in support of farmers in many places.
Railway tracks blocked in several places in West Bengal
In West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool Congress has joined the Congress and the Left in supporting the shutdown but has stayed away from enforcing it, the response was mixed. Railway tracks were blocked in several places and protesters held sit-ins on major roads. In Kolkata, CPI(M) activists along with SFI and DYFI members blocked roads in Lake Town, College Street, Jadavpur and Shyambazar. However, public transport, including buses and taxis, operated though in fewer numbers. In a separate incident, the ruling TMC began its three-day-long sit-in demonstration against the new farm laws and demanded that the “anti-people” legislation should be withdrawn immediately.
BJP, Cong workers clash in Rajasthan
Mandis were closed but shops in several places remained open in Rajasthan during Tuesday’s ‘Bharat bandh’ while a clash broke out between Congress and BJP workers in Jaipur. NSUI members holding a demonstration in support of protesting farmers clashed with BJP Yuva Morcha workers outside the saffron party’s office in Jaipur. DCP Manoj Kumar said some protesters tried to forcefully enter the BJP office and were stopped by police.
Markets and business activities were partially affected at other places such as Kota, Jodhpur and Bikaner. Shops in a few towns in Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar were closed. Roadways buses, trucks and mini buses did not ply, but auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws were seen on the roads.
Farmer unions protest in Tumakuru, Bengaluru
Farmers in Tumakuru district held a protest demanding that the recent farm reforms Acts be scrapped both at the Centre and the state. The state government has introduced amendments to Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1961, and Karnataka APMC Act, 1966. On the other hand, Left political parties and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) protested at NH 16 in Visakhapatnam in support of Bharat Bandh. In Bengaluru, various farmer organisations including members of the Aikya Horata Samiti staged a protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Maurya Circle.
Watch| #BharatBandh Various farmers organisations in #Bengaluru protesting against the farm bill. Members of the Aikya Horata Samiti staged a protest near Mahatma Gandhi statue at Maurya Circle in Bengaluru today. @IndianExpress @DarshanDevaiahB pic.twitter.com/2W35gSoeGO
— Express Bengaluru (@IEBengaluru) December 8, 2020
Farmers stop train in Maharashtra
Members of a farmers’ organisation on Tuesday staged a ‘rail roko’ in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district as part of the Bharat Bandh called by agitating farmer unions to press for repeal of the Centre’s agri laws. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna members stopped the Chennai-Ahmedabad Navjeevan Express at Malkapur station in Buldhana district while protesting against the farm laws. Police detained Sanghatana leader Ravikant Tupkar and his supporters over the incident, after removing them from the rail tracks, an official said. Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Dhule, Pune and Solapur are closed during the bandh.
DMK, allies hold protests; normalcy largely unaffected in TN
In Tamil Nadu, the opposition DMK and its allies, including the Congress, held protests across the state but life was mostly unaffected. Shops and businesses were open and banks and government offices functioned as usual. Local markets were, however, closed in parts of the state, including in Nagapattinam, Erode and Tiruvarur. Agitations were held in most regions of the state, including Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Coimbatore, Thanjavur, Salem, Tirunelveli, Cuddalore and Puducherry.
Anna Hazare on fast to support farmers
Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday sat on a day-long hunger strike to support agitating farmers. In a recorded message, Hazare appreciated farmers’ protests at the borders of Delhi saying no violence has taken place in the last 10 days of the agitation. “I appeal to the people of the country that the agitation which is going on in Delhi should spread across the country. The situation needs to created to create pressure o the government, and to achieve this, farmers need to hit the streets. But no one should resort to violence,” said Hazare, who began his fast in Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. He said this was the “right time” for farmers to come out on the streets and get their issues resolved. “I had backed this cause earlier also, and will continue to do so,” he said.
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