Bharat bandh call against Modi government gets huge response


By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Monday claimed that its call for Bharat Bandh today got an “unprecedented response’ across India as the shutdown hit normal life in many parts of the country. The bandh remained by and large peaceful and no untoward incident reported from anywhere from the country. The farmers’ organizations have been pressing for withdrawal of three agri laws which were passed by the Modi government last year.  They alleged that the new laws will allow the corporate houses likes of Adani and Ambani to take over the agriculture sector.


Reports have been pouring in about the overwhelmingly positive and resounding response to the Bharat Bandh call to mark 10 long months of peaceful protests with rightful demands from the farmers, said SKM  which is the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers’ agitation.

The Bandh was marked peacefully, without a single untoward incident reported from anywhere, from more than 23 states of India, it claimed,

SKM said the huge success of the bandh has nailed the lie of the government’s propaganda and showed how solidly the people of India stand with the farmers in their historic struggle.

Complete shut-down has been reported from states like Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, and Bihar where all kinds of institutions, markets and transport has been closed down.

Life came to a near standstill in several states like Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand and Bihar. Reports indicate that in several parts of southern Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, this was the situation. Scores of protests marked the day in states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In Jaipur and Bangalore, capital cities of Rajasthan and Karnataka, tens of thousands of protestors joined protest rallies taken out in the cities.

Educational institutions, government offices, private sector establishments and markets are closed today in most parts of the country. Reports of major national and state highway closure are pouring in. Railway tracks have also been blocked in many states.

There has been no untoward incident reported from any part of the country so far. However, events were marked by three farmer deaths, and more details are being collected about the same by the SKM.

The overall mood across the country was anger and frustration with BJP-RSS policies that the Modi Government is enforcing, curbing basic freedoms and democracy, and putting most citizens on the path of survival struggle.

“It is patently clear that the people of India tired of Modi Government’s adamant, unreasonable and egoistic stand on protesting farmers’ legitimate demands, and anti-people policies in numerous sectors”, said SKM.

Talking to Muslim Mirror, SKM leader Hanan Mollah said the response to the Bandh call was more widespread than before.

“Nearly all Opposition political parties had extended unconditional support to the Bandh and were in fact keen on not being left out. Trade unions were firmly with the farmers, showcasing the unity of farmers and workers once again. Various trader, merchant and transporter associations, student and youth organisations, women’s organisations, taxi and auto unions, teachers’ and lawyers’ unions, journalists’ unions, writers and artists and other progressive groups were firmly with the farmers of the country in this Bandh,” he added.

Several opposition political parties including Indian National Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party, Bahujan Samaj Party express their support and solidarity with the today Bharat Bandh.  Five opposition state governments including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have issued a support statement for the bandh.

There were support events by the Indian diaspora in other continents too. One of the unifying forces that initially brought together various farmer unions was a Bharat Bandh called on September 25th 2020, after the 3 anti-farmer statutes were passed by the Parliament and before the Presidential assent on the same. There was a pan-India mobilisation around the same time last year. Later on, on December 8th 2020 during the various rounds of talks with the Government, there was one more Bandh call put out by SKM. After talks broke down completely in late January 2021, there was a Bandh call again by SKM on March 26th 2021, followed by today’s Bharat Bandh.

  Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh, sugarcane farmers issued an ultimatum to the CM Yogi Adityanath government about the measly hike announced on sugarcane price in the state, and declared that this is cheating by the government. Farmers said that they have been insulted by the BJP government.

 In the face of many adversities and attacks, farmers’ agitation against the new farm laws completes 10 months. More than 605 farmers have been martyred in the farmers’ agitation so far.  The Modi Government is exhibiting extreme “undemocratic and callous behaviour, and will bear consequences,” said   farmer leader Dr Darshan Pal.


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