Bharat Bandh: Find out the timings and what is closed tomorrow

All emergency establishments and essential services including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted

File image of protesting farmers at the Tikri Border, outskirts of New Delhi, India in May this year. (AP/Dinesh Joshi)

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has called for a Bharat Bandh tomorrow (Monday, 27 September) to mark the first anniversary of the three controversial farm laws passed by Parliament.

Around 100 organisations including national political parties, trade unions, farmers’ associations, youth, teachers, labourers and others, will join the Bharat Bandh.  So here’s everything you need to know about the bandh:

Who called for it

Thousands of farmers from Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring states had gathered at Muzaffarnagar on 5 September for a ‘Kisan mahapanchayat’, organised by the SKM, and had unanimously called for a complete Bharat Bandh on 27 September against the three contentious farm laws.

The SKM, the umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the farmers’ agitation, later said in a statement, ” The SKM appeals to every Indian to join this nationwide movement and make the ‘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.”

Timing and what will remain closed

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.

Exempted institutions and groups

All emergency establishments and essential services including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted.

Who is supporting it?

Many Opposition parties have expressed their support to the bandh.  Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has supported the bandh, Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav has announced that he will participate in the nationwide strike. The Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu governments, too, have declared complete support to the nationwide strike.

Congress has also said that it will be joining the protests on Monday. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Sunday took to Twitter to say that her party will support a peaceful ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmers against the Centre’s three farm laws.

The Aam Aadmi Party too has extended for the bandh. Party leader Raghav Chadha said on Saturday, “AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has always stood by the farmers against the black laws.” Kerala’s ruling LDF has also called for a state-wide hartal on 27 September to express solidarity with the farmers.

Protracted battle

Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders since November, 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 and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on 22 January, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on 26 January.

The three laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — were passed by Parliament in September last year. The Centre has been projecting the three laws as major agricultural reforms.

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