Samyukt Kisan Morcha has also asked political parties to "stand with farmers" (File)
Farmer organisations have called a "Bharat Bandh" today as their protest against the new farm laws completes 10 months. The farmers have been pressing for constitutional guarantee on MSP or minimum support and alleged that the new laws will allow the private firms to take over the agriculture sector.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers' agitation, has appealed to the people to join the bandh.
The body has also asked political parties to "stand with farmers in their quest to defend principles of democracy and federalism".Here are the LIVE updates on Bharat Bandh:
Hospitals, Medical Stores Exempt From Bharat Bandh
During the bandh period (6am-4pm), all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will be closed throughout the country, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said. However, exemptions to the bandh include all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies.
Farmers' Protest Should Not Become Political Issue: Agriculture Minister
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar emphasised on Sunday that farmers' protest should not become a political issue. "Farmers movement should not be mixed with politics. Farmer belongs to all. The government has negotiated with the farmers union very sensitively and is ready to do so in future also," said Mr Tomar.
Shun Path Of Agitation, Opt For Dialogue, Says Agriculture Minister
A day before the proposed Bharat Bandh, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday said farmers should leave the path of agitation and opt for dialogue.
"I would like to appeal to farmers to leave the path of agitation and follow the path of dialogue. The government is ready to consider the objections raised by them. There have been several discussions earlier. If there is anything left, the government is definitely ready to talk," he said.
Farmers' Protest Against New Agricultural Laws Completes 10 Months
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.
Farmer Leader Rakesh Tikait Says Ready To Protest For 10 Years
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.
Congress Extends "Full Support" To Peaceful Bahrat Bandh
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.
Farmers' Body Samyukt Kisan Morcha Leads Bharat Bandh Protest
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.
Bharat Bandh Will Be Held From 6 am To 4 pm
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 Samyukt Kisan Morcha said.
Farmers Block Expressway Near Delhi
The farmers have blocked the Delhi-Meerut Expressway near Ghazipur border. The traffic movement has been closed from Uttar Pradesh towards Ghazipur due to protest, tweeted Delhi Traffic Police.