Doing the bare minimum, Amit Shah meets farmers

The Bharat Bandh received nationwide support today as protesters, opposition party members and numerous organisations held ‘chakkajam’ demonstrations at various locations across the country.

Credit : File Photo

Following the nationwide bandh called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in protest of the Centre’s three farm laws, Home Minister Amit Shah has invited a 13-person team of farmers to have another round of talks with them, ahead of the sixth round of talks on December 9th. Out of these 13 farmers, eight were from Punjab while other five were from various other states. Interestingly, the Home Minister also met Delhi Police Commissioner before meeting the farmers. Farmer leader Rudru Singh Mansa has said they will seek just a "yes or no" answer to their demands when they meet Shah. Mansa further added that the Central Government has bowed down before the 'Bharat Bandh'. In the interim, a delegation of opposition parties comprising five members, including Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Pawar, will meet President Ramnath Kovind at 5 PM tomorrow. Farmers’ meeting with Shah had not concluded by the time of publication.

The bandh received nationwide support today as protesters, opposition party members and numerous organisations held ‘chakkajam’ demonstrations at various locations across the country. The protest started at 11 am and lasted until 3 pm. Commercial buildings and areas, shops and other public areas remained closed in most parts of the country. Undoubtedly, this did affect transport and disrupt the traffic, mainly in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. However, since the farmers planned the bandh for only four hours, keeping in mind the daily schedule and business hours of the common people, the ‘chakkajam’ largely remained peaceful.

While protests received a massive response in Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka, the BJP ruled states of UP, Gujarat and Haryana saw arrests of hundreds of activists.

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP and AIKS Joint Secretary KK Ragesh and AIKS Finance Secretary P Krishna Prasad were among the 250 people who were arrested at Bilaspur near Gurugram. Among those arrested in Gujarat were CITU State President Arun Mehta and AIKS State President Dayabhai Gajera. The AIKS has condemned the BJP state governments for these arrests and has demanded an immediate release for those arrested. In Chandigarh, the police also used water cannons to stop the farmers from protesting.

Though the bandh wasn’t observed in Kerala owing to local body elections, demonstrations were organised before the Central Government offices and the traders had pulled down the shutters on their shops.

Delhi lawyers too stood in solidarity with the farmers and held peaceful protests at various district court complexes. According to the statement issued jointly by the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) and the Coordination Committee of all district courts in Delhi, the action committee of lawyers would soon give a call for all India agitation in case the demands were not met and soon fix a date for it after consulting with several state Bar councils and Bar associations.

According to the press release issued by All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS), “The Bharat Bandh showed the great level of anger amongst the people against the repression of the government on farmers and also against the anti-farmer and pro-corporate Farm Acts. It also showed the massive unity of the people transcending religion, caste and language.”