Bharat Bandh: Farmers block national highways, say they are sending a message

The farmers' protest against the Narendra Modi government's agricultural laws completes a year today, and the protesters are commemorating it with a Bharat Bandh. 

The bandh, which has the support of several opposition parties, saw protesting farmers blocking highways and railway tracks.

Outside Delhi, farmers blocked the National Highway 9 (Delhi-Meerut expressway). Similarly, the Delhi-Amritsar national highway has also been blocked by the farmers near Shahabad in Kurukshetra.

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Tight security arrangements have been made in Delhi and Haryana to ensure that the protests do not turn violent.

However, farmer leaders have assured that their protest, which will go on till 4 pm, would be peaceful. 

Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait had said that the farmers would only peaceful sit-in protests during the Bharat Bandh. The call for the bandh was given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha -- the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions.

Ambulances, doctors and those who have an emergency can pass through the blockade, Tikait said, adding that the farmers' intention is not to seal off anything, but rather to send out a message to the Centre

On Sunday, Tikait had warned the Centre that the Samyukt Kisan Morcha will hold protests in election-bound states if it did not meet the farmers' principal demand to repeat the three farm laws. The farmers have been claiming that the Centre's farm legislation, which was enacted in September last year, are pro-corporate and not in their interest.

The Left parties, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party and Swaraj India have backed the bandh call.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to support the protesting farmers and said that their non-violent satyagraha remains strong even today. 

Besides political parties, some state governments too have extended support to the 10-hour bandh call. These include Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh governments.

from asianetnews

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