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Friday, January 22, 2021

Dec 8 Bharat Bandh

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Farmers and trade unions from more than 12 states, including whole northern India, have so far extended their support for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call of farmer organisations on December 8 to raise their voice against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws enacted in September during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

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Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu are among the 12 states and a joint platform of 10 central trade unions have so far extended their support to the call which was made public after the fifth round of the government-farmer talks remained inconclusive with both sides adamant on their points.

As the ongoing farmers protest entered the 11th day on Sunday, over 40 farmer representatives engaged in a meeting since morning at Singhu Border – one of the protest spots on the Delhi-Chandigarh route – to chalk out a plan for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ and discuss further strategy of the agitation.

The farmer leaders have decided to continue their sit-in until their first and major demand to repeal all three farm laws are not annulled. While the government was agreeable in the fifth government-farmer meet to do amendments to The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, farmers were pushing for the scrapping of these laws. Farmer leaders communicated that they will hold the ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 as their demands haven’t been met.

Bharatiya Kisan Union President Gurnam Singh Chathuni has said, “It will be a peaceful ‘Bharat Bandh’ across the country on December 8”, assuring “if any person is found adopting violent acts, he would be handed over to police”.

Thousands of protesters have already blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The protest which began on November 26 will be observed across the nation on December 8 for which farmer associations are contacting different state unions.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta Ugrahan spokesperson Joginder Singh, said, “So far, it is not known if Gujarat will follow the ‘bandh’ call as none of the members from there has approached us. However, we have come to know that around 500 farmers are arriving in separate vehicles here.” Besides, a joint forum of ten central trade unions – Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC)– is supporting the nationwide strike.

All India Motor Transport Congress has turned out to be a strong supporter. More than 60 per cent of their business is dependent on agriculture produce.

From IANS reports

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