Bharat Bandh today: The Centre on Monday asked all states and Union Territories to tighten security during Tuesday’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the farmers unions protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws and supported by as many as 15 opposition parties, trade unions and two of the biggest railway unions . Farmer leaders, however, said emergency services would be allowed while appealing to their affiliates to not force anyone to observe the shut down.
At a press conference, the farmer unions said the bandh would be observed the whole day on Tuesday and “chakka jams” would be carried out till 3 pm. The agitating farmers have already announced that they would occupy toll plazas between 11 am to 3 pm.
Talks between the government and protesting farmers remained inconclusive on Saturday even after five rounds of discussions. 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.
How different states are gearing up for the Bharat bandh tomorrow:
Buses, transport of essential items to ply in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, the ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are among the key parties to support the nationwide strike. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut urged people to take part in the “non-political” bandh to support farmers. Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said NCP workers would join the shutdown by observing social distancing norms.
However, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses and taxis will ply as scheduled during Tuesday’s ‘Bharat bandh’, PTI reported. The All India Motor Transport Congress, an apex body of trucker outfits, said it would “join the Bharat bandh and suspend their operations on December 8”. “Transportation of essential commodities like milk, vegetables and fruits have been excluded from the bandh,” said Daya Natkar, secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Truck Tempo Tankers Vahatuk Sangh.
300 farmers’ outfits to take part in bandh in Karnataka
Thousands of farmers in Karnataka will join the Bharat bandh on Tuesday. Karnataka Rajya Riatha Sangha president K Chandreshekar said members of around 300 farmers’ organisations would participate. Aikya Horata, a coalition of farmer, labour and Dalit groups, started an indefinite sit-in protest in Bengaluru on Monday. The Karnataka chapter of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee (AIKSCC), a coalition of several farmer organisations, has called for a six-hour bandh on Tuesday.
The Karnataka Congress said it would launch a letter drive against the farm and labour laws. According to Congress Karnataka chief D K Shivakumar, these letters with the signature of farmers and labourers would be sent to the President.
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has directed the party workers to gather the opinion of the farmers and labourers by way of signature on the letter. On the directions of our party president Sonia Gandhi, we are going to provide 8.8 lakh letters to the farmers and labourers who will sign on it and send it to the President of India,” Shivakumar said.
DMK, 8 labour unions extend support; autos to stay off roads in Tamil Nadu
DMK and its allies have extended their support to the nationwide strike called by the farmers. In a joint statement, DMK leader MK Stalin said the demand of the farmers to withdraw the three farm laws was totally justified. Stalin has appealed to all the farmer unions, trade unions, labour unions to extend their support and “make this Bandh a great success”.
Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam will also be participating in the nationwide protest. On behalf of Kamal Haasan, a 10-member team headed by the party’s farmer wing head Mayilsamy reached the capital on Sunday to take part in the protest.
Besides CITU, AITUC, INTUC, eight labour unions in Tamil Nadu have extended their support. Auto rickshaws will not run across the state tomorrow. Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation (TNSTC) has not issued any statement supporting the bandh till now.
Assam Oppn parties extend support to ‘Bharat bandh’ call tomorrow
In Assam, all opposition parties — including Congress, AIUDF, the Left, among others — have come together to extend their “full support” to the Bharat Bandh called by the farmer unions on December 8.A statement from the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee said that apart from supporting the bandh on December 8, the party’s local units will hold protest programs with the farmers in farms across the state and burn effigies of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Assam chapter of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) said that the new farm laws amounted to annulling the Minimum Support Price, which the BJP had promised in its “Vision Document” for Assam.
The statement — which was signed by the Congress, CPI-ML, CPI, Liberal Democratic Party Anchalik Gana Marcha, Assam Jatiya Parishad, Raijor Dol, among others — said that the general public’s food security will be affected by the corporatisation of agriculture that the laws will result in. T
he statement appealed to all offices and educational institutions, including banks and courts to remain shut, and vehicles to be off the roads on December 8. Peasant organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti — founded by Akhil Gogoi — also extended their support to the bandh. In a statement, the organisation said that they would build a movement against the anti-farmer laws in Assam. “BJP is doing this to appease its corporate friends and the farmers of Assam will never accept these laws,” said the statement.
Kerala outfits excludes state from bandh due to local body polls
Farmer outfits in Kerala have decided to exclude the state from the nationwide bandh called on December 8 (Tuesday) as five districts of the state will go to polls in the first phase of the local body elections scheduled on the day. Voters in local bodies across Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki are set to cast their votes on Tuesday. Considering the hardships the bandh can potentially cause to voters and election officials, farmer outfits are exploring alternate ways of registering their solidarity with the farmers who are protesting on the borders of the national capital against the Centre’s farm laws.
KN Balagopal, state secretary of the CPM-affiliated Kerala Karshaka Sangham, and Lal Varghese Kalapakavady, chief of the Congress-affiliated Karshaka Congress, told reporters that their outfits would carry out peaceful demonstrations at select spots against the farm laws without disturbing the sanctity of the polling process. Both Left parties and the Congress have backed the nationwide bandh.
Delhi Police instructions for traffic movement
The police has advised those commuting to Delhi to use the DND instead of the Noida Link road. Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to the farmers’ protest near Gautam Budh Dwar. “The Ghazipur border on NH 24 is closed for traffic from Ghaziabad to Delhi due to farmers’ protests. People are advised to avoid NH 24 for coming to Delhi and use Apsara/Bhopra/DND for coming to Delhi,” it tweeted.
Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh borders are closed. NH 44 is closed on both sides. Take alternate routes via Lampur,Safiabad,Saboli borders.
Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road.
Avoid Outer Ring Rd , GTK road, NH 44
— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) December 6, 2020
Tikri and Jharoda borders are closed for traffic movement while Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two-wheelers, it said.
“Singhu, Auchandi, Lampur, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh borders are closed. NH 44 is closed on both sides,” the police said. The police advised commuters to take alternative routes via Safiabad, Saboli, NH8, Bhopra, Apsara borders, and Peripheral expressway.
Several parties support Bharat Bandh
Several political parties, including the Congress, AAP, DMK, Shiv Sena, Kamal Haasan’s MNM, Left parties, the TMC, and the TRS, have joined ranks with the protesting farmers. NDA constituent Rashtriya Loktantrik Party has also supported the bandh call.
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party supports the call for ‘Bharat Bandh by farmers’. The PM should take back the farm laws. We will take a decision on whether RLP will stay in NDA or not after December 8: Hanuman Beniwal, RLP leader and MP from Rajasthan pic.twitter.com/K5dRAIHm1s
— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2020
Addressing a press conference Friday, farmers union leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said that if the Centre did not accept their demands to repeal the laws during Saturday’s talks, they would intensify their agitation and occupy toll plazas. There have been five rounds of talks between farmers’ representatives and the government till now, and the next meeting is scheduled for December 9. After Thursday’s talks, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had hinted that the Modi government could amend three major provisions in the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.
Farm laws will not be rolled back, open to amendments : MoS Agriculture
Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Sunday reiterated that the three laws passed by the government are “in favour of farmers”, and they would not be repealed, though amendments could be made to them.
“These laws passed by the government will give freedom to farmers. We have always said farmers should have the right to sell their crop wherever they want. Even Swaminathan Commission’s report recommends that. I don’t think the laws should be repealed. If necessary, some amendments to the Acts will be made to acknowledge agitating farmer’s demands,” Choudhary was quoted as saying by ANI.
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