Blended response in Delhi as farmers put together for Bharat Bandh

New Delhi, December 8

The nationwide shutdown called by farmers over the three farm laws received a mixed response early on Tuesday with most of the businesses and transport services remaining normal in the national capital.

The farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, who have been agitating over the “black laws” since November 26 at several borders of the national capital have called for the Bharat Bandh.

Across the nation, while cold response was seen in Tamil Nadu, there was growing solidarity for the farmers’ cause in Odisha and Telangana. In Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party workers stopped Bundelkhand Express at Prayagraj, leading to a scuffle with the police as SP workers squatted on the railway track.

A heavy police deployment was made at the wholesale vegetable and grain market to prevent pro-Bandh activists from forcing closure of shops.

In Delhi at the Azadpur mandi, one of the Asia’s largest vegetable markets, the response was lukewarm. Some shops opened while others anticipated less merchandise reaching the wholesale bazaar. The Ghazipur and Okhla mandis also witnessed mixed response leading up to the shutdown called for four hours with very less people arriving at these mandis.

The usually crowded Ghazipur vegetable market wore a deserted look with not many shops opened and very less crowd visible.

The farmers continued to block the Delhi-Meerut National Highway 24 near Ghazipur as large contingents of police and the paramilitary guarded all borders around the national capital.

The agitating farmers, who have been camping at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Ghazipur border for the last 10 days, on Tuesday morning again blocked the national highway that connects Delhi with Meerut via Ghaziabad.

Farmers from several parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been protesting at the Ghazipur border.

However, they allowed the ambulance services to run uninterrupted. The farmers have announced that the emergency vehicles like ambulance and wedding procession will be allowed to pass.

Inside the city though it was life as usual with vehicles plying and roadside shops are running as usual. E-rickshaws too continued to ply.

Officials at Sarai Kale Khan inter-state bus terminus told IANS that the buses are running as usual and no hindrance has been reported so far. They also said that the service would continue despite the call of ‘chakka jam’ slated between 11 am and 3 pm.

The bus terminus, though, wore a deserted look compared to other days. Employees here said that the situation is normal and it is how it has been amid the Covid outbreak.

Traffic was normal at Karnal bypass, the road that leads to Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border, where the farmers have been protesting for last 13 days against the new farm laws.

In the wake of Bharat Bandh, many passengers who wanted to travel to Chandigarh were seen waiting for vehicles on the Karnal highway.

Farmers are protesting against the three farm laws by the Central government that they fear will ruin their livelihood.

There have been five rounds of talks between the government and farmers with no breakthrough; both the sides have agreed to continue the dialogue on Wednesday.

The fifth round of talks between the government and the farmers’ leaders remained inconclusive on December 5, with both sides adamant on their stand over the three contentious farm laws. Farmers say they are at Delhi borders for a long haul and will continue until the government rolls back the laws. IANS

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