Bharat Bandh: Normal life hit in large swathes of country; farmers, trade unions call strike ‘historic’
‘Our Bharat Bandh was successful. We had the full support of farmers. Our protest will compel the Centre to listen to the farmers,’ BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said
Called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) – an umbrella body of over 40 farmers’ unions – and supported by trade unions and opposition parties, the Bharat Bandh on Monday saw a complete shutdown in many parts of the country.
Normal life was hit as railway, highways, markets remained closed for most part of the day even as people came out in large numbers to support the Bandh.
The nationwide strike was historic, said farmers and trade unions in the evening.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, who has emerged as a strong farmers’ voice, said, “Our Bharat Bandh was successful. We had the full support of farmers.”
“Our protest will compel the Centre to listen to the farmers,” reiterated Tikait.
As per reports, in Punjab alone, as per the unions, farmers protested at over 350 places. In Haryana too, highways were blocked at 25 places in Jind district alone.
Similarly, farmers protested at various places in western Uttar Pradesh. The Delhi-Ghazipur border area saw a complete shutdown.
BJP ruled states also saw tremendous support for the Bandh. Vehicular movement was hit In Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttarakhand.
In various cities, markets remained closed. While shops were shut, government offices and banks functioned as usual.
Farmers also took out rallies on major roads and held meetings in BJP-ruled states.
The AIKS said pictures emerging from various protest sites show the “pan India character of the farmers' struggles”.
“Even in the BJP-ruled states of UP, Gujarat, and Tripura, the impact of the Bandh was colossal and there was total closure of shops and commercial establishments, and traffic came to a standstill. In UP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi witnessed widespread demonstrations attended by thousands of people, largely women. In Morena, the constituency of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar also the Bandh was total,” said AIKS in its statement.
Saying that “the massive character and non-violent nature of the Bharat Bandh were remarkable”, AIKS leader Hannan Mollah asserted, “Reports from West Bengal and Tripura have come of the police attacking the activists. It shows the mass character of the movement and the determination of the people to continue the movement till its goals achieved.”
The Central Trade Unions (CTUs) issued a statement saying the Bandh signals the mood of workers and farmers to fight to halt and reverse the anti-farmer, anti-worker, anti-people policies of the Modi government.
The CTU said that the peasants and the working class are the backbone of our society, and this unity in action would further strengthen the ‘Mission Uttar Pradesh’ and ‘Mission Uttarakhand’ campaign declared by the SKM on 5th September 2021.
Notably, the SKM had announced to campaign against the Yogi government in forthcoming assembly polls.
As per farmers’ unions, response to the Bandh call was massive in Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, and West Bengal.
In the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Gujarat, the Bandh was successful in the rural areas of these states. There were large demonstrations and ‘Rail Roko’ and ‘Rasta Roko’ at various spots.