New Delhi, March 26:
As farmers protesting against three contentious agricultural laws hold an all-India strike – Bharat Bandh – today to mark four months of their agitation at Delhi’s borders, demonstrations have affected rail and road traffic.
Four trains were cancelled and more than 30 trains were stopped over agitations near railway stations in Delhi, Chandigarh, Firozpur and Amritsar.
Demonstrations were also reported at National Highway-9 near one of three protest epicenters in the national capital – the Ghazipur border. Policemen have set up barricades to block the movement of protesters. The farmers’ protest at the Delhi borders started on November 26 at three epicenters- Singhu border, Ghazipur and Tikri.
In a video message, Samkyukta Kisan Morcha leader Darshan Pal had earlier said that the supply of vegetables and milk will be stopped by the protesting farmers. The Samkyukta Kisan Morcha – an umbrella body of protesting unions – also appealed to protesting farmers to be peaceful and not get involved in any conflict during the day-long protest
The all-India strike, which began at 6 AM, will continue till 6 PM. “Farmers will block rail tracks in various places. Markets and transport services will be closed during ”Bharat Bandh” senior farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
However, the Confederation of All India Traders, which claimed representation of eight crore traders in the the country, said that markets will remain open as it is not participating in the ”Bharat Bandh”, PTI reported.
In Delhi, market associations say they support the strike but they will keep the shops open as they’ve already suffered losses during lockdown.
Despite several rounds of consultations, the government and the farmers’ bodies have failed to reach a consensus on the three agricultural laws.
On January 26, as the protest completed two months, the farmers had held a tractor rally which had ended in violence as the protesters over-ran the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort.