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Everything you need to know about the Bharat Bandh

The Indian farmers have been peacefully protesting for the last few months against the new farm bills that the Central Government has passed. The Farmers’ Unions have called for a peaceful strike across the country on Monday

Chakka Jam by Farmers during Bharat Bandh

The Indian farmers have been protesting against three farm laws that have been passed, namely, 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.

The farmers believe that these laws could increase exploitation and perhaps wipe out the smaller, landless farmers. Here’s a cheat sheet on the laws and the protests. The Farmers’ Unions across the country have called for a peaceful strike on Monday from 11 AM to 3 PM.

This call is being made just a day before the sixth round of talks between the farmers and the Government regarding the laws. The farmers have repeatedly said that the protest will be a peaceful one, however, the central government has issued a nationwide advisory for tight security, and are requesting people to follow the Covid guidelines.

In light of the recent protests and the farmers collecting at the borders of Delhi, the state government has planned to seal all borders on Monday. Most opposition parties and leaders have come out in support of the farmers and the Bharat Bandh. The Congress, NCP, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, and AAP are among a few parties that have shown support for the farmers. The Aam Aadmi Party said that they will stage a protest in support of the farmers on Monday. The DMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, and the People’s Alliance of Jammu and Kashmir have also shown support. The Trinamool Congress has also said that Bengal will have sit-ins to extend support. Opposition ruled states have said that they will be supporting the Bharat Bandh and will most likely be affected by the strike.

On the other hand, BJP ruled states, have not shown any encouragement for the strike. In fact, the Gujarat government has gone ahead to say that they will act on those who try to “close shops and other establishments forcefully”.

The farmers have said that during the ‘Bandh’ they will allow for emergency services such as ambulances, and weddings to go on. However, they did say that they will be creating a ‘chakka jam’ or a roadblock from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Besides that, major mandis will remain closed in Delhi and Mumbai. Punjab is expected to be one of the worst-hit states, as most farmers from there have left to participate in the protest. Fruit and vegetable supply are likely to be affected across the country as the transport unions have also backed the strike. The general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has said that farmers will block roads and occupy toll plazas. Even though commuters may be affected by the cabs, the government has ensured that last-mile connectivity remains available.

The government has offered to amend the laws, but the farmers have said that they will not accept anything besides a complete repeal of the laws.

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