The Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions against the Centre’s three agricultural laws evoked a mixed response in many states in India.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, called for the Bandh to mark one year since President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the three controversial laws and 10 months since thousands of farmers set up camp at Delhi’s border points to voice their protest.
The Bandh was in effect from 6 am to 4 pm on Monday.
Although agitators staged protests at different locations and briefly blocked roads at many places across the country, many took to Twitter to announce that the Bandh was largely unsuccessful as normal life remained unaffected.
There is no Bharat Bandh… pic.twitter.com/d4KQFZypPD
— Akash Bhatia ???? (@akashjbhatia) September 27, 2021
A man from Mumbai tweeted that malls and shops were open as usual in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He also said that traffic was as usual on Monday.
— Arvind Vishwakarma ???? (@ArvindVishwak10) September 27, 2021
Bharat Bandh has failed completely. No takers even in Congress ruled Maharastra
— Girish (Headhunter) (@girishs2) September 27, 2021
A user from MP tweeted that the protest had no major impact in his state aswell.
latest:The Bharat Bandh call given by some farmer unions against the Centre’s new farm laws had no major impact in MP on Monday as day-to-day and commercial activities went on as usual. Eyewitnesses said road traffic was normal in the state capital Bhopal & commercial hub Indore.
— Totlani Krishan???? (@kktotlani) September 27, 2021
Yes only Punjab, UP Haryana wasnt closed so dont be frustrated if your movement is failed. You guys got no support from anywhere in India. Hard time for fake protest ?? #nobharatbandh
— Amit Singh (@AmiTSgH_) September 27, 2021
About 25 trains were affected due to the Bharat Bandh called by farm unions on Monday, according to railway officials. Mocking Swaraj Abhiyan leader’s tweet on trains being affected due to Bharat Bandh, one user said he could see the massive crowd in the photo. “After the picture was clicked the driver of the locomotive would have shouted at them to get lost so that he could move on,” he further added.
Massive crowd, I can see that. After the picture was clicked the driver of the locomotive would have shouted at them to get lost so that he could move on. #NoBharatBandh
— TheLeo (@TheForcesGuy) September 27, 2021
A Twitter user said there was no Bharat Bandh and that he will work extra hours to compensate ‘for some inefficient’ people.
There is no Bharat Bandh….
We all are working….#NoBharatBandh
We will work extra 2 hrs today to compensate for some inefficient & Slackers who are out to destroy our country…..
— Boby Kaul (@BobyKaul) September 27, 2021
Claiming that the Bandh was successful, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said, “Our ‘Bharat Bandh’ was successful. We had the full support of farmers… We can’t seal down everything as we have to facilitate the movement of people. We are ready for talks with govt, but no talks are happening.”
Business activities unaffected in Delhi, massive traffic jams
Markets remained open and business activities were largely unaffected in the national capital on Monday, though massive traffic snarls were witnessed in border areas due to road blockades by protesters and security checks by police during the Bharat Bandh.
Parts of the national capital witnessed traffic snarls in morning hours as police closed some key roads to prevent any untoward incident during the Bandh. Commuters faced difficulty while crossing the city borders, especially the Delhi-Gurgaon border.
Massive traffic jam on Delhi- Gurugram expressway at Gurugram- Delhi border due to barricading by Delhi Police, in the view of ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmers organization, near Sirhaul Toll Plaza in Gurugram, on Monday. (PTI)
A Delhi Metro station near Tikri Border, one of the sites of the ongoing farmers’ protests, was also closed for security reasons in view of the Bandh. The station in Haryana — Pandit Shree Ram Sharma — falls on the Green Line of the network.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said there was no effect of the Bandh on the markets across the country including Delhi.
The auto and taxi unions as well as several traders’ bodies extended only “in-principle support” to the Bharat Bandh and decided not to join the strike, saying their livelihood has already been hit hard due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
A section of trade unions and civil society groups held a protest at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the Bandh called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
Normal life unaffected in Maharashtra, non-BJP parties stage protests
Commercial establishments and local transport were operating as usual and normal life remained unaffected across Maharashtra on Monday even as various non-BJP parties held demonstrations and bike rallies in parts of the state in support of the Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions against the Centre’s three agri laws, officials said.
In Mumbai, Congress workers, holding placards, assembled at some places like Andheri and Jogeshwari and shouted slogans against the farm bills, but shops and other commercial establishments were open as usual and traffic movement was normal, they said.
Left party activists shout slogans in support of farmers’ ‘Bharat Bandh’ in Mumbai, on Monday. (PTI)
According to a police official, no additional security force was deployed in the city so far, but a decision on deployment of extra police personnel may be taken later depending on the situation and programmes of political parties.
In Pune, commercial establishments and local transport were operating normally, while a protest meeting was organised in Mandai area which was attended by workers of various parties, including the NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena, AAP, Janta Dal (S), Shetkari Kamgar Paksh and CPI(M). Pune’s Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), also known as Marketyard, remained shut.
In neighbouring Solapur district, CPM leader Narasayya Adam led a protest on Akkalkot road in support of farmers.
There was also reports of protests against the Centre’s three farm laws in the state’s Vidarbha region, but normal life remained unaffected.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole led a bike rally in Akola district in support of the Bharat Bandh.
Activists of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha, led by Arun Warkar, staged a road blockade on Raipur highway in Waroda area of Nagpur district in the morning.
Warkar claimed the protesters were detained and later let off by police.
Local NCP leaders and workers, led by the party’s city unit president Duneshwar Pethe, staged a demonstration at the Variety Square in Nagpur.
In Yavatmal, Congress leader Manikrao Thakre and former minister Vasant Purke along with workers of the NCP and other parties staged a demonstration at the Sanvidhan square against the Centre’s three farm laws.
In Gondia district, Congress workers took out a motorcycle rally in support of the Bharat Bandh.
The vehicle rally started from Jaistambha Chowk and passed through the city’s main streets during which Congressmen shouted slogans against the Narendra Modi government.
In Aurangabad district of Marathwada region, members of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha, Shetmajur Union and various political parties held protests at the Kranti Chowk and other areas like Sillod and Paithan.
Nearly 30 protesters, including 12 women, were detained in Waluj area and later released, police inspector Sachin Ingole told PTI.
Bharat Bandh fails to evoke response in Assam
Assam remained unaffected by the Bharat Bandh on Monday as public transport operated as usual, markets were open and offices registered usual attendance.
The opposition Congress, which supported the bandh, did not organise any protest programme in the state.
In Guwahati, members of the SUCI (Communist) took out a protest rally in the morning, raising slogans against the three farm laws.
All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) activists during a rally to support farmers’ ‘Bharat Bandh’ in Guwahati. (PTI)
They were detained by the police near the Ulubari point.
There were no reports of any other protest or demonstration from across the state.
Bharat Bandh evokes mixed response in Chhattisgarh
The Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions against the Centre’s three agriculture laws evoked a mixed response in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh as most of the shops and establishments remained open in major cities.
Agitators staged protests at different locations and briefly blocked roads at many places in the state demanding repeal of the three laws.
Overall, the Bandh remained peaceful with no untoward incident reported so far from any part of Chhattisgarh.
The ruling Congress had extended support to the national shutdown.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday tweeted that he supports the peaceful bandh and stands with farmer brothers.
Claiming that the Bandh was successful, Chhattisgarh Kisan Sabha (CKS) chief Sanjay Parate said farmers, labourers and people from Surguja (northern Chhattisgarh) to Bastar (southern Chhattisgarh) have extended their support to farm unions protesting against the three “black” laws.
Protests were held in Rajnandgaon, Durg, Raipur, Dhamtari, Bastar, Bilaspur, Janjgir-Champa and other districts while farmers and tribals also blocked roads on many routes including Bakimongra-Bilaspur, Ambikapur-Raigarh, Surajpur-Banaras and Balrampur-Ranchi, Parate said.
Farmer leaders also addressed meetings at many places and demanded the withdrawal of the three laws and sought to enact a law to ensure a guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) for all farm produce, he said.
Bharat Bandh evokes lukewarm response in Andhra Pradesh
The Bharat Bandh called on Monday protesting the three new Agricultural Laws evoked lukewarm response in Andhra Pradesh though the YSR Congress government lent support.
Heavy to very heavy rains in different districts had a severe impact on normal life, other than the Bandh.
Only at a few places like Tirupati, Anantapuramu and Kadapa did the opposition parties stage protests against the farm laws .
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party also supported the Bandh, along with the Congress and the Left parties.
In the temple town of Tirupati, workers of Left parties squatted on the rail track inside the railway station before police whisked them away. A sit-in protest was also staged on the main road in the city.
In Kadapa and Anantapuramu, the opposition workers staged protests in front of the RTC bus depots.
The state government suspended the bus services till 1 pm in support of the Bandh. A holiday was also declared for schools and colleges.
No major impact of Bharat Bandh in MP; Bhopal, Indore unaffected
The Bharat Bandh call given by some farmer unions against the Centre’s new farm laws had no major impact in Madhya Pradesh on Monday as day-to-day and commercial activities went on as usual.
Eyewitnesses said road traffic was normal in the state capital Bhopal and commercial hub Indore.
However, talking to PTI, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh national president Shivkumar Kakkaji claimed, “The Bandh called by farmers against the three laws and for demanding guaranteed MSP for crops has been successful.”
He further claimed that the outfit had given relaxation from the shutdown to Bhopal as most of its residents are (private and government sector) employees and not farmers, but the protest was successful in the farming community-dominated small towns of Nimar region, Shahdol, Umaria, Raisen and Silwani.
Kakkaji said he was sitting in the “control room” in Bhopal and was getting reports that the shutdown call was “successful”, and added that no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
Peaceful protests were also seen in districts like Vidisha and Satna.
The Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh’s Indore unit president Rajkumar Patidar said they had planned to stage protests at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) campuses and other places, but the district administration did not give them permission for it.
The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) did not support the Bandh.
Its Indore-Ujjain unit president Kamal Singh Aanjna said,” We want the issues related to farmers to be resolved through discussions with the government in a peaceful manner.”
Rallies, demonstrations in Jammu and Kashmir
Demonstrations and rallies were held across Jammu district on Monday in support of the Bharat Bandh called by farmers to demand repeal of the Centre’s three agri laws.
Led by CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, hundreds of activists and farmers took out a rally and sat on a dharna on the main road here, leading to disruption of traffic.
In Jammu, the demonstrations were organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Kissan Tehreek.
CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami with Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) and All India Kissan Samba members, during a protest march to support farmers’ ‘Bharat Bandh’ in Jammu, on Monday. (PTI)
A similar demonstration was held in Srinagar where farmer leaders Abdul Rashid Pandit, Gh Qadir Hafroo and Abdul Rashid Itoo demanded minimum support price for farm produce.
They also said that the horticulture sector has totally been neglected by the government though a major chunk of the population is dependent on it.
Gujarat largely peaceful; highways blocked briefly, protesters held
Gujarat largely remained peaceful on Monday during the Bharat Bandh, though there were reports of highways being blocked briefly which affected traffic movement.
Protesters were detained in some parts of the state, they said.
Traffic movement on a national highway connecting Surat to Mumbai in neighbouring Maharashtra as blocked in Kamrej for some time by protesters, who burnt tyres on the arterial stretch, a police official said.
Later, police detained about 25 people and restored traffic movement on the road, he said.
Protests were also witnessed in Surendranagar where farmers gathered in large numbers on a highway connecting Ahmedabad to Rajkot, but they were later dispersed by police, another official said.
A group of farmers in Surat’s Olpad area were detained even before they could begin their protest.
Farmers block highways, squat on railway tracks in Punjab, Haryana
Normal life was hit as farmers blocked highways and squatted on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana on Monday in view of a “Bharat Bandh” called by farm unions against three agriculture laws of the Centre.
In Punjab, the ruling Congress said it firmly stands by the farm unions’ “Bharat Bandh” call against the three contentious laws.
The shutdown was almost complete in the state, with transport services suspended during the bandh period, while shops and other commercial establishments remained shut at most places.
Farmers block a railway track at Devi Dass Pura on the outskirts of Amritsar, on Monday. (PTI)
National and state highways in several districts, including Amritsar, Rupnagar, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Sangrur, Mohali, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Bathinda, were blocked by the protesters.
In neighbouring Haryana, the protesters blocked highways in Sirsa, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Hisar, Charkhi Dadri, Karnal, Kaithal, Rohtak, Jhajjar and Panchkula districts.
The protesting farmers also squatted on railway tracks at many places in the two states.
Markets shut, roads blocked in Jharkhand
Vehicular movement was disrupted in several parts of Jharkhand on Monday as supporters of the Bharat Bandh blocked roads and highways.
Shops were shut in state capital Ranchi, while government offices and banks functioned as usual.
In Ramgarh district, protesters blocked the Ranch-Patna highway and Ramgarh-Bokaro highway for some time, disrupting traffic, Superintendent of Police Prabhat Kumar told PTI.
Party workers of Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and others participate in a torch light procession on the eve of Bharat Bandh to protest against the three farm laws by Centre, in Ranchi, on Sunday. (PTI)
Several roads in the district were blocked by JMM, CPI, RJD and Congress workers, leading to congestion on the highways.
Markets remained closed in Dumka, while Bandh supporters blocked roads in several areas.
In Sahibganj, most of the commercial establishment remained closed, while agitators blocked the National Highway-80.
Palamu saw a partial impact of the 10-hour Bandh. JMM supporters protested at the Dr Rajendra Prasad roundabout.
The three farm laws
The three 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 — were passed by Parliament in September last year.
The government has projected them as major reforms but the unions allege that the laws will end the ‘mandi’ and the MSP (minimum support price) procurement systems and leave cultivators at the mercy of big corporates. They have been protesting on Delhi’s borders since November last year.
The central government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest.
Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers in Delhi on January 26.
(With PTI inputs)