CHANDIGARH: Farmers on Monday blocked highways and other roads at many places in Punjab, where the ruling Congress said it firmly stands by the farm unions’ call for Bharat Bandh against the Centre’s three agri laws.
In neighbouring Haryana too, there were reports of protesters blocking some highways, including in Sirsa, Fatehabad and Kurukshetra.
There were also reports of farmers squatting on rail tracks at a few places in the two states.
In Punjab, a complete shutdown was observed at several places, including Moga, where farmers blocked the Moga-Ferozepur and Moga-Ludhiana National Highways.
Bharat Bandh: Farmers are giving dharnas at nearly 500 places in Punjab, including the sites of 108 permanent dharnas & ar various places in Haryana. A large number of protests are being held on railway tracks and highways pic.twitter.com/XVhp0Wd6id
— Harpreet Singh Bajwa (@Harpreet_TNIE) September 27, 2021
The Bathinda-Chandigarh National Highway too was blocked by farmers, sources said.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Centre to repeal the three “anti-farmer laws”.
“#I Stand With Farmers & appeal the Union Govt. to repeal the three anti-farmer laws. Our farmers have been struggling for their rights since more than a year & it is high time that their voice is heard. I request the farmers to raise their voice in a peaceful manner (sic),” Channi tweeted.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said the PPCC firmly stands by farmer unions’ for Bharat Bandh.
“Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by Farmer Unions demand for Bharat Bandh on 27 Sept 2021. In the war of right and wrong you can not afford to be neutral !! We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three Unconstitutional Black Laws !! (sic),” Sidhu tweeted.
In Haryana, protesting farmers blocked the national highway in Charkhi Dadri while in Kurukshetra too, several roads were blocked.
In an advisory issued on Sunday, the Haryana Police had stated that people could face traffic disruptions on various roads and highways of the state due to the bandh.
In view of the bandh, elaborate arrangements have been put in place by the civil administration and police according to directions of the state government, a Haryana Police spokesperson said.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers’ agitation, had earlier appealed to the people to join the bandh.
The SKM had also asked political parties to “stand with farmers in their quest to defend principles of democracy and federalism”.
“As this historic struggle completes 10 months, SKM has called Monday (September 27) to be observed as Bharat Bandh against the anti-farmer Modi government,” the SKM had said in a statement.
“The SKM appeals to every Indian to join this nationwide movement and make Bharat Bandh a resounding success. In particular, we appeal to all organisations of workers, traders, transporters, businessmen, students, youth and women and all social movements to extend solidarity with the farmers that day,” it said.
The bandh will be held from 6 am to 4 pm during which 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, it had said.
All emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders since November last year, demanding the repeal of the three contentious farm laws that they fear would do away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
The government, however, has been projecting the three laws as major agricultural reforms.
Over 10 rounds of talks between the two parties have failed to break the deadlock.