Protesting farm unions under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha have called for a day long Bharat Bandh on Friday to mark the four-month anniversary of their agitation on the borders of Delhi, and to reiterate their demand to repeal three contentious farm laws. The strike call will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The nation-wide bandh call urged that shops, malls, markets and institutions remain closed. Protestors intend to block road and rail transport and suspend services, except for ambulances and other emergency services. The poll-bound States have been excluded from the bandh.
Here are the live updates:
Traffic movement suspended on Ghazipur border
The Delhi Police has closed both carriageways of National Highway-24 passing through the Ghazipur border in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
In a tweet, the Delhi Traffic Police said, “Traffic movement is closed on Ghazipur Border NH-24 (Both carriageways).” The one side of the carriageway was earlier opened on March 15 for traffic. However, the other side from Ghaziabad towards Delhi is closed since the farmers’ protest started. – PTI
‘Satyagraha’ ends atrocities, arrogance: Rahul Gandhi on Bharat Bandh
India’s history shows that ‘satyagraha’ ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, expressing support for the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
In a tweet in Hindi, Mr. Gandhi said India’s history shows that ‘satyagraha’ ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance. The movement should be in national interest and peaceful, the former Congress chief added. – PTI
Vehicular movement hit in Delhi
In Punjab and Haryana, groups of farmers started sit-in protests, or dharnas, on key roads, including national and State highways, as well as besides railway tracks at a few locations.
Vehicular movement was disrupted in parts of the two States, which have been at the forefront of the protests. Public transport, including buses and taxis, stayed off the roads. SKM members will hold dharnas at 120 places in Punjab alone, said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta (Dakonda).
At least five agitation points have also been identified within Delhi city, with protests to begin by 11 a.m. This will also be the first major agitation within the capital since the Republic Day tractor parade.
Farmers occupy key roads in Punjab, Haryana
Several groups of farmers on Friday went on dharna on key roads, including national and State highways, besides railway tracks at a few places, in Punjab and Haryana amid the call for ‘Bharat bandh’.
Vehicular movement was disrupted in parts of Punjab and Haryana. Public transport, including buses and taxis, stayed off the roads.
“A complete shutdown has been called from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta (Dakonda).
Adequate security arrangements in place, says Delhi Police
The Delhi Police said adequate security arrangements have been put in place in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said there will be intense patrolling to maintain peace in the national capital.
“There will be adequate security arrangements in all police districts during the ‘Bharat Bandh’,” he said.
“The patrolling staff will roam in their area throughout the day and their focus will to maintain peace in busy marketplaces,” Mr. Biswal said. – PTI
Odisha declares closure of educational institutes
The Odisha government declared the closure of all educational institutions across the state on March 26 in view of the nationwide Bharat Bandh call.
The Congress and Left parties have announced their support to the 12-hour bandh to be observed from 6 a.m.
The State’s BJD government has asked its employees to reach offices by 9.30 a.m. on Friday in view of the bandh.
The front gates of state secretariat Lok Seva Bhawan will be closed at 10.15 a.m. and all the passage will be regulated through rear gates. Security check of identity cards and passes of the employees and visitors will be intensified, the home department said.
In a notification, the government said that schools, colleges, universities and technical institutions will be closed on Friday in view of the bandh. PTI