Bharat Bandh updates | Farmers block highways, roads in Punjab, Haryana; partial response elsewhere

Farmers protest at Bahadurgarh railway station in Haryana by blocking the tracks and sitting on the platform.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Protesting farm unions under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha have called for a day long Bharat Bandh on Friday to mark the four-month anniversary of their agitation on the borders of Delhi, and to reiterate their demand to repeal three contentious farm laws. The strike call will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

The nation-wide bandh call urged that shops, malls, markets and institutions remain closed. Protestors intend to block road and rail transport and suspend services, except for ambulances and other emergency services. The poll-bound States have been excluded from the bandh.

Here are the live updates:

5.40 pm

'Bharat Bandh' impact limited to Punjab, Haryana, almost zero countrywide, says Railway

The Railways on Friday said except in some locations in Punjab and Haryana, the Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions protesting the Central agri laws had 'almost zero impact' on rail services across the country.

In the morning, protestors had squatted on railway tracks at 44 locations across the two states which led to four Shatabdi trains being cancelled, 35 other passenger trains detained and the movement of 40 goods trains affected, according to a northern railway spokesperson.

"Barring some limited number of trains in Punjab and Haryana, the bandh has had almost ZERO impact across the nation. Other than in these two states, around five to six trains were delayed for some time. Less than 0.5 per cent of trains impacted nationally. Trains are running smoothly," said Railway spokesperson D.J. Narain.

The 44 locations where train movement has been disrupted fall under the Delhi, Ambala and Ferozepur divisions of the railways. The norther railway spokesperson, however, said that now things have normalised.

-PTI

5.30 pm

Farmers block highways, roads in Punjab, Haryana; partial response elsewhere

Road and rail traffic was disrupted in several parts of Punjab and Haryana during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmers on Friday as part of their nationwide protest against the three agri laws though there was partial response to it in other parts of the country.

Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana, and squatted on railway tracks at several locations.

A railway spokesperson said four Shatabdi trains were cancelled, 35 other passenger trains were detained and the movement of 40 goods trains was affected by the protests.

In Uttar Pradesh's Ballia, as many as 20 activists of CPI (M-L), protesting in Sikandarpur township of the district, were taken into custody.

In other parts of the country, there was partial response to the bandh.

The bandh had a minimal impact in Delhi. Markets at Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kashmiri Gate, Chandni Chowk and Sadar remained open.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had to briefly close the entry and exit gates of the Tikri Border, Bahadurgarh City and Brigadier Hoshiar Singh stations, but after a few minutes, the stations were opened for passengers.

-PTI

5.05 pm

Demonstrations held in Bundelkhand, no impact on traffic and markets

Demonstrations in support of the 'Bharat Bandh' call by farmer unions protesting against the three farm laws were held in the Bundelkhand region on Friday but there was no impact on traffic and businesses.

Normal traffic was seen on the roads in Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Mahoba and Lalitpur districts of the region, where movement of vehicles were seen and markets remained open.

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Banda, Mahendra Pratap Singh Chauhan said that some farmers associated with the Bundelkhand Kisan Union gave a memorandum to authorities by staging a peaceful protest. However, there was no effect of the Bharat Bandh here, he said.

 - PTI

4.35 pm

"Farmers block railway tracks at 11 points in Haryana. Jind, Sirsa, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwani, Hisar and Charkhi Dadri districts hit the most. Around 150 trains impacted," says Haryana Railway Police. 

-Ashok Kumar

4.05 pm

16 farmer organizations lead 'Bharat Bandh' in Odisha

Akhil Bharat Krushak Sangharsh Samannawy Samiti (ABKSSS), Odisha comprising 16 farmers’ unions of the State on Friday participated in 12-hour nationwide bandh call given by  Samyukt Kisan Morcha protesting against three contentious farm laws.

Members of ABKSSS staged protest at important traffic junctions of Bhubaneswar while movements of trains and buses were affected for few hours. Congress and Left parties had also extended their support to bandh.

Keeping in mind the Bharat Bandh, Odisha government had earlier announced closure of all educational institutions.

“The three farm laws would help corporate gain control over agriculture sector. Farmers will lose their bargaining power as market yards will be controlled by the people sitting over huge cash. Over a period of times, price of grain would be dictated by influential corporate houses,” said Suresh Panigrahi, a lead member of ABKSSS.

Mr. Panigrahi said apart from farmer organizations, employees and trade unions too participated in the bandh. Many farmer leaders courted arrest at Master Canteen Square. In view of the bandh, employees were asked to enter the office premise before scheduled entry time.

- Satyasundar Barik

Protesters affiliated to the CPI-M outside a closed bank at Nirkarpur, in Odisha's Khordha district.

Protesters affiliated to the CPI-M outside a closed bank at Nirkarpur, in Odisha's Khordha district.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

3.15 pm

Protesters block roads in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar

Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) blocked roads here on Friday as part of the 12-hour Bharat Bandh, called by farmer groups who have been protesting against the new agri laws.

Roads in and around the district including the Delhi-Saharanpur National Highway and Muzaffarnagar-Deoband Road were blocked by the protesters. -PTI

3.00 pm

Farmer leaders detained in Ahmedabad

Yudhvir Singh, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), was detained by police while addressing a press conference in a hotel at Motera, Ahmedabad. At least three other leaders, J.K. Patel, Gajendra Singh and Ranjit Singh were also detained. “This is wrong. This is a dictatorship. It is not a crime to speak to the press. It is a right in a democracy,” he told journalists, even as the police carried out the detentions.

Yudhvir Singh’s press conference was in relation to plans for a mahapanchayat, or mass gathering of farmers, to be held in Gujarat on April 4 and 5. The detained leaders are now being held in Shahibaug police station in Ahmedabad, according to other leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.

Priscilla Jebaraj

2.45 pm

Lukewarm response to 'Bharat Bandh' in Tirupati, Kadapa

The Bharat Bandh against the farm laws and anti-people measures of the union government evoked lukewarm response in Tirupati on Friday.

Barring the first two hours of the day, retail and commercial outlets remained open for the entire day. Transport services, except state-run buses on long routes, were operational as usual throughout the day. As the Tirupati Chamber of Commerce (TCC) had given a call to its members to express solidarity to the national bandh call by keeping their outlets closed for half a day, the sign of closure was evident only for a couple of hours.

The temple city normally remains insulated from such protest activities in view of its huge floating population. The political parties also take a sympathetic view of the visiting pilgrims and do not insist much on keeping the shutters of retail outlets closed. The frontal organisations of the CPI and CPI-M were prominent in enforcing the bandh, but the other parties were hardly sighted. Even the demonstrations and sparsely-populated rallies by the left parties failed to cut ice with the public.

The Bandh evoked mixed response in Kadapa district. Left parties gathered at prominent city centres and took out a rally to enforce the bandh, where the agitators flayed the union government for having turned a deaf ear to the plight of the farmers as well as the common man.

- AD Rangarajan   

2.40 pm

Farmers block highways, roads in Punjab, Haryana; rail services hit

Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana, and squatted on railway tracks at several locations disrupting road and rail traffic as part of their nationwide protest against the Centre's new agri laws.

Since morning, farmers in the two States gathered at several highways and roads, including in Bathinda, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Mohali, Rohtak, Ferozepur, Pathankot, Jhajjar, Jind, Panchkula, Kaithal, Yamunanagar and Bhiwani districts.

Shops remained closed at several places in Punjab. At a few places in Haryana too shops were shuttered in support of the Bharat Bandh.

Public and private transport remained off the roads in Punjab.

Protesters squatted on railway tracks at several locations, including in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Ambala, Jind, Jhajjar, Panchkula and some other districts in the two states, leading to disruption of rail traffic.

At Karnal railway station, the New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express was stranded due to blockade by farmers in Ambala.. -PTI

Women sitting on the railway track in Haryana's Jind district as part of farmer unions' call for 'Bharat Bandh' on Friday.

Women sitting on the railway track in Haryana's Jind district as part of farmer unions' call for 'Bharat Bandh' on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

2.00 pm

Minimal impact of 'Bharat Bandh' in Delhi

A 12-hour 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmer unions protesting against three agriculture laws had a minimal impact in Delhi on Friday with no report of disturbance in the metro and road transport services while the major markets of the city also remained open, even as police made adequate security arrangements to deal with any situation.

The 'Bharat Bandh' called by the farmer unions began at 6 a.m..

The situation was normal at the New Delhi railway station. Markets at Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kashmiri Gate, Chandni Chowk and Sadar remained open. Shops in Khan Market were also open.

A senior Delhi Police officer said the situation is peaceful and remains under control, adding that no report of any untoward incident has so far been received.

Farmers camping at the Ghazipur border blocked a carriageway of National Highway-9 from Delhi to Ghaziabad in the morning, but there was not much activity by the protesters in the city till afternoon.

 - PTI

1.15 pm

Bandh starts on a peaceful note in Andhra Pradesh

The 12-hour Bharat Bandh call given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers' unions, evoked total response in the State on Friday.

With the YSR Congress Party extending support to the bandh and the Opposition TDP, Left Party and Congress leaders hitting the road trade and commercial establishments voluntarily downed their shutters.

Traffic came to a grinding halt with the AP State Road Transport Corporation officials deciding to keep the fleet of their buses confined to the depots till 1 a.m.. The Lorry Owners' Association, which has been supporting the farmers' agitation from the beginning, ensured their trucks remained off the roads.

In Vijayawada, the Left Parties, the Congress and others held demonstrations at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station and raised slogans against the 'Modi-Shah' duo. They denounced their 'anti-farmer and anti-worker' policies.

-P. Sujatha Varma

12.20 pm

Police detain prominent farmer leaders in Bengaluru

Bengaluru City police detained all prominent farmer leaders, who were spearheading protests against the three farm laws brought by the union government, drawing ire of the farmers.

Samyukta Horata - Karnataka had recently given a call for Karnataka Bandh at a protest meeting led by Rakesh Tikait and Dr. Darshan Pal. However, not finding many takers beyond the farming community the farmers withdrew the bandh and decided to hold a mock death procession of the three farm laws.

However, in the city, police have detained farmers at multiple locations including Nayandahalli Circle and Town Hall, not allowing them to hold the mock procession as well. "In which democracy does the police not allow citizens to hold a peaceful protest? We have even withdrawn the bandh, but not allowing us to hold a demonstration is undemocratic," rued farmer leader Kodohalli Chandrashekhar, detained at a protest in front of Town Hall.

-Aditya Bharadwaj

Farmers who had come to protest at Town Hall being arrested and taken away to undisclosed place by city police, during the bandh in Bengaluru on March 26, 2021.

Farmers who had come to protest at Town Hall being arrested and taken away to undisclosed place by city police, during the bandh in Bengaluru on March 26, 2021.   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

 

12.05 pm

Entry points to Singhu Border blocked

Farmers have blocked entry points to the Singhu Border, where earlier traffic was permitted. 

Repeated appeals are being made from the main stage at Singhu Border to not block ambulances and other essential services during the Bharat Bandh.

- Shinjini Ghosh

Meanwhile, in Rajasthan Ranjit Singh Bhullar, a protesting farmer, has single-handedly blocked a road in Sriganganagar district since this morning, in response to the SKM's call for Bharat Bandh.

Ranjit Singh Bhullar, a protesting farmer, has single-handedly blocked this road in Rajasthan's Sriganganagar district.

Ranjit Singh Bhullar, a protesting farmer, has single-handedly blocked this road in Rajasthan's Sriganganagar district.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

Protestors have also blocked the movement of buses at Kesrisinghpur in Rajasthan.

Priscilla Jebaraj

11.35 am

UP Kisan Sabha leader placed under house arrest

U.P. Police arrived outside the home of Mukut Singh, State general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, in Etawah around 7 a.m. this morning and placed him under house arrest.

UP Kisan Sabha General Secretary Mukut Singh (in white kurta) was placed under house arrest in Etawah this morning, according to the SKM.

UP Kisan Sabha General Secretary Mukut Singh (in white kurta) was placed under house arrest in Etawah this morning, according to the SKM.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

“The police came at 11 p.m. last night, and warned me not to go out. Then this morning they came and parked outside to stop me from leaving. They say it is a precautionary measure, and they will be here until the Bharat Bandh call gets over at 6 p.m. today,” said Mr. Singh, speaking to The Hindu from Etawah.

He says reports are coming in from several districts, that district-level leaders of the AIKS are also being placed under house arrest.

“This is the response of the government. The Yogi government is scared of the farmers, so they have banned all protests,” he added. “But we will keep raising our voices until we are heard.”

10.30 am

Four Shatabdi trains cancelled as protesters squat on tracks

Protesters squatted on railway tracks at 32 locations across Punjab and Haryana on Friday as part of the 'Bharat Bandh'.

A railway spokesperson said four Shatabdi trains have been cancelled and 31 other trains detained due to the protests.

The 32 locations where train movement has been disrputed fall under the Delhi, Ambala and Ferozepur divisions of the railways.

"As of 9 am kisan agitators are sitting at 32 locations. Total 31 trains have been detained so far. Four Shatabdi trains have been cancelled," Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said. - PTI

10.20 am

Don't disrupt essential services, says BKU president

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni, in a video message, said that roads were blocked across Haryana as part of 'Bharat Bandh', but there were complaints of water canters, milk vehicles and even patients travelling in personal vehicles being stopped.

He, however, added that there were no reports of ambulances being stopped. Mr. Charuni made an appeal to the protesters to not to cause any inconvenience to the masses, treat them with love and not disrupt essential services.

10.10 am

Support farmers, but shops will be open, says Delhi traders' organisation

The Chambers of Trade and Industry, a body representing traders in Delhi, had on Thursday said that while majority of traders support demands of the farmers, shops and factories will remain open during the 'Bharat Bandh'.

"We discussed it with business owners and traders. Most of them said they support the demands of the farmers and the Centre should find a solution to the issue," CTI convenor Brijesh Goyal and chairman Subhash Khandelwal said in a statement.

"However, most traders want to keep their business establishments open on Friday as they have been accruing losses due to coronavirus," it said. - PTI

 

Glimpses from the bandh...

Buses parked at bus depo during the Bharat Bandh in Khammam on Friday.

Buses parked at bus depo during the Bharat Bandh in Khammam on Friday.   | Photo Credit: G.N. Rao

 

Activists and leaders of the Left parties and trade unions stage a protest on the national highway at Maddilapalem in Visakhapatnam as part of the Bharat Bandh on Friday.

Activists and leaders of the Left parties and trade unions stage a protest on the national highway at Maddilapalem in Visakhapatnam as part of the Bharat Bandh on Friday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Farmers under banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti squatting on railway track at Vallah in Punjab's Amritsar on the call given for "Bharat bandh" to stage their protest against Centre's farm laws.

Farmers under banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti squatting on railway track at Vallah in Punjab's Amritsar on the call given for "Bharat bandh" to stage their protest against Centre's farm laws.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

9.40 am

Traffic movement suspended on Ghazipur border

The Delhi Police has closed both carriageways of National Highway-24 passing through the Ghazipur border in view of the 'Bharat Bandh'.

In a tweet, the Delhi Traffic Police said, "Traffic movement is closed on Ghazipur Border NH-24 (Both carriageways)." The one side of the carriageway was earlier opened on March 15 for traffic. However, the other side from Ghaziabad towards Delhi is closed since the farmers' protest started. - PTI

9.30 am

'Satyagraha' ends atrocities, arrogance: Rahul Gandhi on Bharat Bandh

India's history shows that 'satyagraha' ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, expressing support for the 'Bharat Bandh'.

In a tweet in Hindi, Mr. Gandhi said India's history shows that 'satyagraha' ends atrocities, injustice and arrogance.  The movement should be in national interest and peaceful, the former Congress chief added. - PTI

9.20 am

Vehicular movement hit in Delhi

In Punjab and Haryana, groups of farmers started sit-in protests, or dharnas, on key roads, including national and State highways, as well as besides railway tracks at a few locations.

Vehicular movement was disrupted in parts of the two States, which have been at the forefront of the protests. Public transport, including buses and taxis, stayed off the roads. SKM members will hold dharnas at 120 places in Punjab alone, said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta (Dakonda).

At least five agitation points have also been identified within Delhi city, with protests to begin by 11 a.m. This will also be the first major agitation within the capital since the Republic Day tractor parade.

Read more
 

8.40 am

Farmers occupy key roads in Punjab, Haryana

Several groups of farmers on Friday went on dharna on key roads, including national and State highways, besides railway tracks at a few places, in Punjab and Haryana amid the call for ‘Bharat bandh’.

Vehicular movement was disrupted in parts of Punjab and Haryana. Public transport, including buses and taxis, stayed off the roads.

“A complete shutdown has been called from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta (Dakonda).

Read more

Delhi

Adequate security arrangements in place, says Delhi Police

The Delhi Police said adequate security arrangements have been put in place in view of the 'Bharat Bandh'.

Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said there will be intense patrolling to maintain peace in the national capital.

"There will be adequate security arrangements in all police districts during the 'Bharat Bandh'," he said.

"The patrolling staff will roam in their area throughout the day and their focus will to maintain peace in busy marketplaces," Mr. Biswal said. - PTI

Odisha

Odisha declares closure of educational institutes

The Odisha government declared the closure of all educational institutions across the state on March 26 in view of the nationwide Bharat Bandh call.

The Congress and Left parties have announced their support to the 12-hour bandh to be observed from 6 a.m.

The State's BJD government has asked its employees to reach offices by 9.30 a.m. on Friday in view of the bandh.

The front gates of state secretariat Lok Seva Bhawan will be closed at 10.15 a.m. and all the passage will be regulated through rear gates. Security check of identity cards and passes of the employees and visitors will be intensified, the home department said.

In a notification, the government said that schools, colleges, universities and technical institutions will be closed on Friday in view of the bandh.  PTI

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