To mark four months of the continuous agitation, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers’ unions, have called for a 12-hour Bharat Bandh or a countrywide strike today. In a protest against the three contentious farm laws enacted recently, the Bharat Bandh will be observed the entire day from 6 am till 6 pm.
During this period, the SKM has said that the roads and rail transport, markets, and other public places will remain closed across the country. Also, the traffic across the country is likely to be hit. The SKM said that all shops, malls, markets, and commercial establishments would remain closed during the Bandh. However, ambulances and other important services will be allowed. Further, the SKM added that Bharat Bandh’s call would be supported by representatives of various farmer organisations, trade unions, student groups, lawyer associations, political parties, and state governments.
Thousands of farmers protesting from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and several other states have been executing a sit-in along Delhi borders Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur, demanding the repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee of the Minimum Support Price’s (MSP) continuation. The protesting farmers fear that the new farm laws will destroy MSP and corporatize farming.
The farmers’ unions have held about ten rounds of talks with the Centre to resolve the deadlock but to no avail. This is the second nationwide strike declared by the farmers. The first Bandh took place on December 8, which was observed in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Assam.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha urged the citizens to make March 26 a success. The farmer’s leader Buta Singh Burjgill said, “The peaceful bandh will remain effective from morning till evening,”
“In order to make Bharat Bandh successful, all District President, the Block President / Tehsil President, and top officials should coordinate to ensure that the bandh is made successful,” the Bhartiya Kisan Morcha Tweeted.
In a meeting held earlier this month to figure out their protest plans, the unions said that the rallies and protests against the corporates would intensify. The farmers’ unions announced that all business establishments would be shut during the Bandh from 6 am to 6 pm; no road and rail traffic will be allowed to work. During ‘Holika Dahan’, on March 28, copies of the farm laws will be burnt by the farmers, the union leaders said.