Armed with the support of the opposition parties and various unions across the country, the protesting farmers are prepared to unfold Bharat Bandh- a nationwide strike on Tuesday from 11 am to 3 pm during which the diversified peasants from several parts of the nation with various backgrounds would agitate against the Center with their collective call and demand of repealing the three controversial farm bills, which the Modi-led government passed recently.
Though the unions of the protesting farmers had announced that they would limit their nationwide strike for four hours, the strike is likely to stir major impacts across the nation- particularly in the Northern parts of India and in the non-BJP ruled states as the farmers had got the support for the nationwide strike from various opposition parties and trade unions as several parts of the nation have been witnessing the agitations from the trade and labor unions and the political parties who flag the demand from the farmers to tear off the farm bills.
By making the statement that no one should be forced to join the shutdown, the leaders of the protesting farmers had appealed to everyone to join the nationwide strike to support their demand and they stated that they would be blocking the key roads in Delhi during the nationwide strike. Speaking to a news agency, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said, "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 the common people not to travel during this period of Bharat Bandh and we also urged shopkeepers to shut their shops during the strike", the farm leader added. The Chief of Bhartiya Kisan Ekta Sangathan had called the farmers to ensure the grounds of peace and refrain from enforcing the shutdown. By citing that the bandh will be effective across the country, he stated that the emergency services will be allowed to function during the period of the nationwide strike. One of the leaders of the protesting farmers had reiterated the demand and urged the Modi government to accept their demands of revoking the three farm laws.
As various trade unions had extended their support to the bandh, thousands of shops and business establishments have been shut down in Delhi and in several parts of the country as the traders and laborers have occupied the streets to protest in favor of farmers and the visuals from the grounds had captured how the unprecedented scale of agitation has been getting unfolded across the nation as the peasants had armed with nationwide solidarity in their demand of repeal the farm bills.
In the wake of Bharat Bandh, for which the opposition parties and several unions had come together for farmers and extended support, the Central government had issued an advisory to the state governments and union territories in which it had instructed all the governments to strengthen the security apparatus to address the untoward incidents and to ensure that the COVID-19 norms and guidelines are being adhered to by the protesters during the nationwide strike.
According to reports, Tuesday's strike could largely impact the movements of goods and essentials as the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the supreme body of transporters representing over 9 million truckers, said that it will suspend the operations across the country to support the farmers and bandh and on the other hand, two biggest unions of Railways AIRF and NFIR had extended their support to the bandh and the unions had decided to hold rallies and demonstrations in support of peasants and to urge the Center to revoke the farm laws.
Though expressed solidarity to the farmers, the bank unions said that they will not extend their support to the nationwide strike. The All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) general secretary said that the union has expressed its solidarity with farmers but will not participate in the bandh. Along with AIBOC, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary said that the members of the union will be wearing black badges while in office as a sign of supporting the farmers and the members will be displaying placards before the branches of their respective banks to support the farmers.
With Delhi being the epicenter of the protests, the Delhi police had increased deployment at various border points in Delhi and the local law enforcement agency had installed barricades across the major highways and the police had issued stern warnings against those who trying to disrupt the movement of people or forcibly closing the shops. As some of the taxi and auto unions in the city had extended their support for the bandh, the transportation facilities, supplies of essentials in the national capital would be getting affected in the national capital on Tuesday.
Dozens of political parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK, TRS, RJD, and communists had supported the farmers and reserved its participation in the band and the states under the rule of these parties have been holding protests and rallies led by the political parties and unions. The Congress party had said that it will hold protests at all district and state headquarters across the country and the opposition party leaders had slammed the Central ruling BJP for not paying heed to the farmers' demands.
On the other hand, the BJP had hit back at the opposition and accused them of their double standards. Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Opposition parties have joined the protests to save their existence in the country as they have been getting rejected repeatedly by the people in the elections. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also slammed the opposition. It must be noted that the farmers from several parts of the country - majorly from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh had gathered in Delhi to protest against the farm bills and the protests had reached 13th straight day on Tuesday. The farmers fear that these three bills would be a menace for their livelihoods and would destroy the grounds of Minimum Support Price (MSP) by inviting the private players into the agricultural sector.