Picture from farmers last Baharat Bandh protes.
Farmer organisations have called a "Bharat Bandh" today as part of their long protest seeking withdrawal of three farm laws that they allege will give power to private firms to take over the agriculture sector.Here are 10 points on Farmers' Bharat Bandh Today:
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions, is leading the protest today. The group has said they will not allow movement on some sections of national highways.
The bandh will be held from 6 am to 4 pm, during which government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments will be closed across the country, the SKM said.
The Haryana Police have asked people to be prepared to face traffic congestion. "It is expected the agitating groups may sit on dharna on roads and highways and block them for some time. The national and state highways in Haryana may see some traffic disruptions for several hours," a state police spokesperson said.
In Punjab, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu asked party workers to support the protest by farmers. "Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by farmer unions' demand for Bharat Bandh on September 27, 2021. In the war of right and wrong, you cannot afford to be neutral. We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three unconstitutional black laws," Mr Sidhu tweeted.
In Uttar Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said he party will support a peaceful "Bharat Bandh". "The farmers of the country do not endorse the three farm laws brought in a hurry by the centre, and are sad about it. They have been protesting for the past 10 months in the country and aggressively, especially around Delhi," Mayawati said.
The Congress has asked all its workers, state unit chiefs and heads of frontal organisations to take part in the Bharat Bandh. Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said party workers will extend "full support to the peaceful Bharat Bandh". "We believe in the right of our farmers and we will stand by them in their fight against the black farm laws," he tweeted.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said farmers are ready to protest for 10 years, but will not allow the "black" legislations to be implemented. "It has been 10 months of this agitation. The government must listen with open ears that even if we have to agitate for 10 years we are ready," Mr Tikait said at a farmers' gathering in Panipat.
The Delhi Police has intensified patrolling and deployed extra personnel at pickets in border areas of the national capital. A senior police officer said adequate security arrangements will be made to maintain law and order in the national capital. No protester will be allowed to enter Delhi from the three protest sites at the city's borders, the officer said.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting along the state border in Delhi since November last year, demanding repeal of the three farm laws that they fear would do away with Minimum Support Price eventually, leaving them at the mercy of big firms.
The centre has denied the allegations and offered to amend the laws after wide discussions with farmers. The centre says the farm laws are in fact beneficial for farmers as some of the provisions cut out middlemen, who exploit farmers. But the farmers have stuck to nothing less than complete withdrawal of the three laws.