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Bharat Bandh : Farmers To Protest Against ‘Farm Bills’ Today

New Delhi : Opposition to three bills related to agriculture passed in Parliament is now gaining momentum on streets. Farmers’ organizations have called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday (25 September) against agriculture bills. Farmers from other states of the country including Punjab, Haryana, UP, Maharashtra are going to join this Bharat Bandh of farmers. Various farmer unions, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union, have announced that they will block the drive today against this bill. It is believed that this protest has the support of many opposition parties including Congress. It is being told that 31 farmer organizations have joined hands for Bharat Bandh. Several organizations, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), have said that they have supported a nationwide strike called by some farmer organizations against the bills.

Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson and UP farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said that farmers organizations from all over the country including Punjab, Haryana, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka will unite in Chakka Jam. On the other hand, the three-day ‘Rail Roko’ movement of farmers against agricultural bills is also going on in Punjab. This  ‘Rail Roko’ movement will run from Thursday 24 October to 26 October. In view of this movement, the Ferozepur Railway Division has stopped the operation of special trains.

Farmers organizations have called for Bharat Bandh on Friday against two recently passed agricultural bills in Parliament. More farmers from Punjab and Haryana are going to participate in this protest. Apart from this, 31 farmer organizations of the country have supported this bandh.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has already announced that Bharat Bandh will be fully supported against agricultural bills. In Punjab, opposition to this bill has been going on since long. Sukhdev Singh, general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has appealed to the shopkeepers of Punjab to keep their shops closed and support the farmers on Bharat Bandh.

On Thursday, farmers in Punjab launched a campaign to stop rail traffic for three days. Farmers have sat on railway lines at many places. The farmers of Punjab have also said that if the government does not listen to them, then from October 1, rail traffic will be stopped indefinitely.

The situation is more or less the same in Haryana. Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Gurnam Singh told news agency PTI that apart from BKU, many other farmer organizations have supported the Bharat Bandh. Gurnam Singh said that he has appealed to the farmers to sit quietly on the streets and state highways to protest. According to Gurnam Singh, there has been no appeal for any protest demonstration on the national highway. No one will be allowed to do violent work during the dharna demonstration which runs from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union says that in Bharat Bandh, commission agents, shopkeepers and transporters have been appealed to participate in maximum number and raise the issue of farmers. Looking at the shutdown, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij held a meeting with top officials of the state on Thursday and inquired about the situation. Anil Vij directed the DGP of the state that the police force should be ready to deal with any unpleasant situation. Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the farmers to take full care of law and order and to protest by following Corona’s safety protocol.

The Congress has fully supported this bandh called by the farmers. The Congress party said that lakhs of its workers will join the dharna along with farmers in Bharat Bandh on Friday. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in New Delhi on Thursday that farmers feed the entire country but the Modi government is attacking farmers’ fields. Supporting the Bharat Bandh, Randeep Surjewala wrote in a tweet, Congress Party and Rahul Gandhi are standing with the farmers on Bharat Bandh. Congress leaders and workers will take part in picketing and protest. The Congress party has decided that a protest march will be held in every state on Friday. After this, on September 28, a memorandum will be submitted to the Governor of each state.

The Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal have also announced to support the farmer’s movement. The Rashtriya Janata Dal said in a statement that the Leader of Opposition Tejaswi Yadav would go to the party office from his residence at 9 a.m. yesterday (Friday) against the NDA government’s passing the anti-farmer bill. The Samajwadi Party has also said that a memorandum will be submitted to the DM in all the districts tomorrow. The Samajwadi Party will submit a memorandum to the Governor through the District Magistrate against the Agriculture and Labor Act. On the instructions of SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav, the workers will protest across the state.

In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party has already announced that it will support the Bharat Bandh. About 30 farmers organizations are ready to take to the streets on Bharat Bandh. Earlier on Thursday, a delegation of Punjab Aam Aadmi Party met Governor VP Singh Vadnore and requested to send his memorandum to the President. The memorandum urges the President not to approve the agricultural bill. Let me tell you, recently the Parliament has passed two bills related to agricultural reforms, on which politics has intensified. Opposition parties are preparing to take to the streets against the government. Opposition parties demand that the President reject this bill.

What is in the bill
1. Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill:
You can sell the produce anywhere. You will get better prices. There will be online sales.
2. Farmer (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Agricultural Services:
Farmers’ income will increase. Middlemen will end. The supply chain will be ready.
3. Essential Items (Amendment): Cereals, pulses, edible oils, potatoes and onions will no longer be compulsory items. They will be stored. Foreign investment in agriculture will be attracted.

Why is this bill opposed
1. Mandis are over, then farmers will not get MSP i.e. minimum support price. There must be a ‘One Nation One MSP’.
2. There is no mechanism to fix prices. There are fears that this will give private companies a means of exploitation of farmers. The farmer will become a laborer.
3. Businesses will hoard. This will cause price volatility. Food security will end. This can increase the black marketing of essential commodities.

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