Farmers' outfits have issued a call for 'Bharat Bandh' today in protest against the central government's three new farm laws. Opposition parties have united in extending support to the bandh as well as several trader unions, transport unions and even lawyer unions have issued statements in solidarity with the agitating farmers.
The Union home ministry on Monday issued advisories to all states and Union Territories regarding the 'Bharat Bandh'. In the advisory, the governments/administration of all states and UTs have been asked to ensure that law and order is maintained and destruction of public property is prevented at all costs during the 'Bandh' on Tuesday.
In addition, the MHA has also urged states and UTs to ensure that novel coronavirus guidelines are adhered to with no exceptions.
Will 'Bharat Bandh' go on for the whole day?
The protesting farmers will be staging 'Chakka Jaam' till 3 pm Tuesday.
Appealing to everyone to join the "symbolic" bandh, farmer leaders said they will block key roads during their 'Chakka Jaam' protest from 11 AM to 3 PM as part of their stir, which has drawn people from northern states especially Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi since the last 12 days.
"Our bandh is different from that of political parties. It is a four-hour symbolic bandh for an ideological cause. We want that there should be no problem to the common people. We appeal to them not to travel during this period," news agency PTI reported farmer leader Rakesh Tikait as saying.
'Bharat Bandh' traffic advisories
- Delhi Police advisory for 'Bharat Bandh'
The Delhi Traffic Police on Monday tweeted about the closure of the Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari and Mangesh borders. The Tikri and Jharoda borders are also closed, it said and advised alternative routes for travelling to Haryana and UP.
The National Highway-44 (NH-44) has also been closed on both sides. The Gazipur border on NH-24 is also closed for traffic from Gaziabad to Delhi.
"The National Highway-44 has also been closed on both sides. So those travelling are suggested to take alternative routes via Lampur, Safiabad and Saboli borders. Traffic has also been diverted from Mukarba and GTK road," it said.
Those travelling towards Noida have been advised to take DND as the Chilla border on the Noida Link road too is closed for traffic, it said.
"The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic from Noida to Delhi due to farmers' protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid the Noida link road for coming to Delhi and use the DND," the Traffic Police said.
The Gazipur border on NH-24 is also closed for traffic from Gaziabad to Delhi. "People are advised to avoid NH-24 for coming to Delhi and use Apsara/ Bhopra/DND for coming to Delhi," it added.
Traffic Alert— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) December 7, 2020
The Gazipur border on on NH 24 is closed for traffic from Gaziabad to Delhi due to farmers protests . People are advised to avoid NH 24 for coming to Delhi and use Apsara/ Bhopra/DND for coming to Delhi.
However, the Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two-wheelers and Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheeler traffic, it said.
The Traffic Police said those travelling to Haryana can take the route via Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH-8, Bijwasan or Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera borders.
- Haryana Police advisory for 'Bharat Bandh'
Haryana Police has issued a travel advisory stating that people may face traffic blockages on various roads and highways of the state.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk said, "According to reports, it is expected that agitating groups may sit in dharna on various roads and highways within Haryana and block them for some time."
"Almost all the districts in the state except Nuh and Narnaul are likely to be impacted by big or small road jams. In addition, there may also be disruptions on various toll plazas in the state.
"The main national highways Delhi-Ambala (NH-44), Delhi-Hisar (NH-9), Delhi-Palwal (NH-19) and Delhi to Rewari (NH-48) may also see some traffic disruptions for a short time. The peak time of impact is expected to be between 12 pm to 3 pm," PTI quoted him as saying.
Which services will be affected by the 'Bharat Bandh'?
- As per the statements issued by farmer leaders, ambulances and wedding processions will be allowed to pass during the 'Bharat Bandh'.
- Tuesday's strike could impact the transport of goods as the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the apex body of transporters representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities, said it will suspend operations in the entire country to support the bandh.
- The Railways’ two biggest unions, AIRF and NFIR have extended their support to the bandh and are planning to hold rallies and demonstrations in their support. The All India Railwaymen’s Federation has around nine lakh members.
- Transport unions and the joint forum of trade unions like the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) have also supported the 'bandh'.
What will remain open during the 'Bharat Bandh'?
- Bank unions All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) and All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said they will not participate in the Bharat Bandh on Tuesday, even as they expressed solidarity with farmers protesting against the new farm laws. AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said union members would wear black badges while on duty, stage protest after or before working hours and display placards before bank branches to support the cause of farmers of the country, but banking operations will not be hit.
- Traders' body CAIT and the All India Transporters Welfare Association, said markets across the country including in Delhi will remain open and transport services will also remain operative.
- Farmers plan to free all toll booths on Tuesday, allowing vehicles to pass through without paying toll tax.
- The BEST buses in Mumbai will continue to operate on Tuesday. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses will ply as scheduled as well.
- Delhi's Connaught Place market will also remain functional.
- According to a report, Delhi Metro will operate during Bharat Bandh.
What will remain closed during the 'Bharat Bandh'?
- Appeals have been made to marketplaces and shops to remain closed throughout December 8 in a show of solidarity with the farmers' agitation.
- At the same time, shops selling essential commodities such as milk or vegetables have also been asked to join the call for 'Bharat Bandh' on Tuesday.
- All fruit and vegetable mandis in Delhi, including the Azad Nagar mandi will remain closed.
- Mandis in several states including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will be closed.
- Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab will close all hotels, restaurants, resorts, and bars in the state.
- All government offices in Odisha will remain closed
Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the NCP, the Shiv Sena, the DMK, the TRS, the RJD, the AAP, the JMM and Left parties along with the People's Declaration for Gupkar Alliance in Jammu and Kashmir have supported the call for 'Bharat Bandh' and have planned rallies and demonstrations to that effect.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai said that AAP workers will protest peacefully at ITO intersection today at 11 am in support of Bharat Bandh called by farmers.
Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said on Monday that it is okay if any political party takes part in the 'Bharat Bandh' democratically. He, however, added that there is no place for violence. "Some political parties are conspiring to defame the farmers," Reddy alleged.
"I appeal to the farmers to reject the conspiracy being hatched for political greed," G Kishan Reddy said.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said strict action will be taken against anyone found forcefully enforcing the call for 'Bharat Bandh' issued by protesting farmers. The Gujarat DGP has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC restricting a gathering of more than four people at one place.
The Centre and the farmer unions are slated to hold the sixth round of talks a day after the bandh as previous discussions failed to end the deadlock.
(With inputs from PTI)