Union Min Narendra Singh Tomar asks farmers to quit agitation, engage in talks with govt

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Sunday that farmers should abandon protests and instead opt for discussions with the government. His comments came a day before the planned Bharat Bandh by farmers’ unions.

Speaking at a programme at the Agriculture College in Gwalior, Tomar said, “I would like to appeal to farmers to leave the path of agitation and follow the path of dialogue. The government is ready to consider the objections raised by them. There have been several discussions earlier. If there is anything left, the government is definitely ready to talk.”

Farmers’ protests, according to Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, should not become a political issue. Farmers’ movements, he argued, should not be linked with politics. Tomar noted that the government has negotiated delicately with farmer unions in the past and is prepared to do so again in the future. Meanwhile, on the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers’ unions, organised a Bharat Bandh today.

Farmer protests today

The nationwide strike called by the SKM will be in place from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 27. All government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments, as well as public events and functions, across the country, have been requested to remain shut during this time, the SKM said. All emergency facilities and necessary services, such as hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue activities, and those attending to personal emergencies, are exempt from the bandh, SKM added.

Massive traffic snarl seen at Gurugram-Delhi border as vehicles entering the national capital are being checked by Delhi Police and paramilitary jawans, in wake of Bharat Bandh called by farmer organisations today. pic.twitter.com/dclgkqp3X1

— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2021

Bharat Bandh garnering support 

More than 500 farmer organisations, 15 trade unions, political parties, six state governments, and many parts of society supported the Bharat Bandh. The Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh state governments have expressed their support for the nationwide strike.

So far, left-wing parties such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the All India Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and others such as the Indian National Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, SAD-Sanyukt, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Swaraj India and others have supported the Bharat Bandh.

“It was on September 27th that President Shri Ram Nath Kovind assented to and brought into force the 3 anti-farmer black laws last year. Tomorrow, there will be a total Bharat Bandh observed around the country from 6 am to 4 pm,” SKM said in an official statement.

Speaking to ANI, SKM leader Rakesh Tikait said, “The roads will be closed, but if someone wants to go to the doctor’s clinic, they can go. Ambulances, vegetable and milk vehicles will run. Apart from that, everything will be closed. All traders and shopkeepers should support the bandh. We will not go inside Delhi during the bandh. Where there are toll blocks, they will be closed. This is the movement of the common people. People should take a day off and leave the house only after 4 o’clock.”

Punjab: Protesters agitating against the three farm laws sit on railway tracks at Devidaspura village in Amritsar, in support of Bharat Bandh called by farmer organisations today. pic.twitter.com/u8jHzKeW82

— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2021

SKM guidelines for nationwide farmer protests

The bandh will be implemented in a voluntary and peaceful manner, according to SKM. SKM has issued detailed guidelines in response to the protest and has urged for complete peace throughout the bandh. It also urged all citizens of the country to participate in today’s Bandh.

On Monday at 11 a.m., the Central Trade Unions plan a protest march at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Several bar organisations and local chapters of the All India Lawyers’ Union have shown their support for the cause. On the day before the Bharat Bandh, a Kisan Mahapanchayat was conducted at Panipat. On Saturday, there was a ‘Mashaal juloos’ in Jaipur, as well as torch processions in Gurgaon, Palwal, and Patna. A bike rally was held in Mysuru.

Kerala: Roads wear deserted look; shops are closed in Thiruvananthapuram. Trade unions affiliated to LDF & UDF support the call for Bharat Bandh today against the three farm laws.

Visuals from Thampanoor and East Fort areas pic.twitter.com/uQ37xJPdcX

— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2021

Farmers have been protesting at various locations since 26 November 2020, in opposition to three enacted farm laws– the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

(With inputs from ANI, Image: PTI)

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