The new agriculture reform laws that have been passed by the government have been met with protests from the farmers union mostly in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and calling for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ (nationwide shutdown) on Friday. Farmers fear that the new bills passed will destroy the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and hinder the functioning of agricultural mandis.
The country-wide strike called by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Farmers Union (AIFU), All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), has received support from 18 political parties, including the Congress. Farmers’ bodies from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have also called for a shutdown.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has urged farmers to maintain law and order and to follow the Covid-19 protocols. He added that no FIR will be filed for the violation of section 144 during the protest.
In wake of the bandh, normal life and public transport across states could most likely be affected today. Fourteen special passenger trains running from the railways’ Ferozepur division have been cancelled from September 24 to 26 due to the three-day ‘rail roko’ protest. The Delhi-Haryana border is likely to be sealed and the Delhi police remain on high alert.