Farmers protest at the Delhi-Noida border on Friday.
Bharat Bandh Today LIVE Updates: After holding separate protests, the Bharatiya Kisan Union and several other organizations on Friday began their nationwide demonstration and “chakkajam” against the three contentious farm legislations which were passed by Parliament earlier this week. Police personnel in adequate strength were deployed across Punjab and Haryana to ensure law and order, officials told news agency PTI.
As many as 31 farmer organisations joined the call for a complete shutdown in Punjab. Some farmers gathered across several locations to disrupt vehicular movement while the others held protest marches. On Thursday, farmer unions began a three-day ‘rail roko’ protest at six different locations in the state with 1,000 to 1,500 farmers sitting on the tracks at each protest site.
Farmer groups in Haryana have urged residents to observe a bandh from 10 am to 4 pm on Friday. However, the National Highways have been exempted from the bandh call.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by the Parliament earlier this week.
Bharat Bandh: Nationwide farmers’ protest today; Punjab, Haryana cops on alert. Get latest updates here.
Farmers erect a temporary shade on railway tracks to take shelter from the sun as they block the rail tracks during a protest against farm bills in Devi Dasspura village on the outskirts of Amritsar. (Reuters)
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against three farm reform bills — The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — passed by the Parliament in the recently concluded Monsoon session. Last week, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an MP of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the BJP’s oldest allies, resigned from the Narendra Modi Cabinet, in protest against the bills.
While farmers are protesting against all three bills, their objections are mostly against the provisions of the first. And while there is no uniform demand among the protesters or a unified leadership, it emerges that their concerns are mainly about sections relating to “trade area”, “trader”, “dispute resolution” and “market fee” in the first bill.
As many as 31 farmers’ organisations, which have different ideologies and leanings, are to fight collectively against these Bills, and the first agenda on their common programme is the ‘Punjab Bandh Call’, slated for Friday (September 25).