New Delhi: The third Bharat Bandh in a year called by a consortium of farmers’ unions witnessed large scale sit-in protests by farmers across all border entry-points and on the periphery of Delhi but least disruption within the national capital Monday.
The Bharat Bandh called in by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) was largely peaceful across Delhi-NCR. All major entry points to Delhi saw large scale police deployment and several personnel from the CRPF and the RAF on the Peripheral Expressway.
Traffic entering Delhi faced problems, especially at the Gurugram Toll and there were several diversions that caused inconvenience to commuters from NCR entering Delhi but inside Delhi, people moved freely using their own or public transport.
One farmer died of heart attack at the Singhu border in the morning.
The SKM, a consortium of 100-odd farmers’ unions from across India, 15 trade unions and several political parties had jointly called a Bharat Bandh from 6 am till 4 pm on Monday to mark the first anniversary of what they termed as a ‘Black Day’ when the President had given his assent to the three farm laws last year.
Over two dozen trains were halted at various locations in Punjab and Haryana and road traffic towards Delhi was affected massively due to the Bharat Bandh. But within Delhi, work wise, offices, both private and government, remained functional. Even all markets, big and small, remained functional across Delhi-NCR. Commuter movement remained unaffected as people freely used their own vehicles or auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaws and DTC buses. Except one station near Tikri border was shut, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) trains functioned normally through the day.
Schools, including Kendriya Vidyalayas, and colleges were working according to the recent routine post lockdown; JNU, DU and other Universities too remained open for regular work and entrance exam for Delhi University was conducted in Delhi-NCR and 27 cities too.
There was hardly any action at places such as Singhu border and Loni border but at Tikri border, farmers squatted on the railway lines at the Bahadurgarh railway station, one among the 20-odd places on the main Delhi-Sonipat line where two dozen trains were halted. Before that, several trains starting from Delhi or New Delhi towards Haryana, Punjab and Jammu were cancelled in the morning.
Similarly, the Bandh did not have any effect at the Chilla border (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh) connecting Gautam Budh nagar with the national capital nor on the DND Flyway. Even the government and private offices were open, educational institutes were functional normally, Noida police had said.
The expressways, including the Yamuna Expressway, which connect Greater Noida to the interior districts of Uttar Pradesh such as Mathura, Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow witnessed normal traffic.
The traffic movement at the Ghazipur border was stopped completely except for allowing emergency use vehicles. Farmers sat in large numbers sitting on the road and raising slogans against the farm laws.
The traffic resumed on the Delhi Meerut Express way that was closed by the agitating farmers since morning after 4 pm when the Bharat Bandh was called by the farmers.
Outside Delhi limits, the Delhi-Karnal and Kundali-Manesar-Palwal highways were active protest sites with scores of farmers camping for much of the whole day on Monday. Amid searing heat – the mercury was at a prickly 29 degrees Celsius – the farmers even had lunch in the middle of the roads. No vehicles were permitted, except the emergency services. From 100-odd protesters in the morning, the numbers swelled to 500 or more by noon and more by the time the Bandh ended.
SKM termed the Bharat Bandh as historic success.
Bhartiya Kissan Union leader Rakesh Tikait had told IANS, “We are hopeful that this government will listen to us after the nationwide Bharat Bandh.”
Earlier in the morning, media coordinator of Swaraj Abhiyan, a part of this farmers’ consortium, Ashutosh, had said, the farmers had not plan to enter Delhi on Monday. “Whenever we do, we will inform the government and enter,” he had said.