New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The day-long Bharat Bandh, called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Monday, to mark one year of the passing of the new farm laws and the farmers' agitation ended at 4 p.m. Traffic resumed on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway which was closed by the agitating farmers since morning. The Bharat Bandh was called by the farmers union from 6 am to 4 pm.

The impact of the 10-hour long, from 6 am to 4 pm, Bharat Bandh, which saw demonstrations in many places, passed off relatively peacefully with no reports of injuries or serious crashes. It was felt the most around Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, the centre of the farm protests, and also in large pockets of Kerala, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.

Protesters blocked highways and arterial roads and squatted on tracks in several places from the morning as the shutdown called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions got underway. The day marks one year since President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the three controversial laws and 10 months since thousands of farmers set up camp at Delhi's border points to voice their protest.

Though large parts of India were untouched by the shutdown, North India felt the pinch with about 25 trains being affected and massive jams that prevented the cross border movement of commuters as well as trucks carrying essentials.

The Delhi-NCR region, including the satellite towns of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida, where thousands cross the borders each day was particularly hit. Delhi itself was mostly unaffected, but there was chaos at its borders with traffic snarls that stretched through much of the day. Images of cars waiting to be let through, lined up back to back as far as the eye could see, told their own story.

Farmers blocked other roads leading into the national capital, including at Ghazipur in western Uttar Pradesh Not far away in Sonipat in Haryana, some farmers squatted on tracks.

In nearby Patiala in Punjab, too, members of the BKU-Ugrahan sat on the tracks to register their protest. Punjab saw a complete shutdown in many places, including Moga, where farmers blocked national highways. Farmer leaders from Punjab have, in many ways, spearheaded the year-long protest. In neighbouring Haryana, highways in Sirsa, Fatehabad and Kurukshetra were blocked. There were also reports of farmers squatting on rail tracks at a few places in the two states.

In West Bengal, life was largely unaffected but Left activists blocked roads and railway tracks in many places. Images from Kolkata showed protesters swarming a section of a railway track. Similar images came in from West Midnapore with Left Front supporters blocking the IIT Kharagpur-Hijri railway line.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers' protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan