Farmers’ protest 2024, Bharat bandh Updates: Samyukt Kisan Morcha vows to intensify agitation

Farmer and trade unions called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ today amid the persisting blockade at the Singhu and Tikri borders between Delhi and Haryana

Updated - February 16, 2024 10:50 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2024 09:56 am IST

Shopkeepers play cards outside their closed shops during the 'Bharat Bandh' protest called by farmers' unions, in Amritsar on Friday.

Shopkeepers play cards outside their closed shops during the 'Bharat Bandh' protest called by farmers' unions, in Amritsar on Friday. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has said it will intensify agitation in the coming days as farmers’ groups, along with trade unions and others, observed ‘Bharat Bandh’. In a statement issued on the day of the bandh, the SKM also accused the Union government of “vitiating the atmosphere on farmers’ issues” by not keeping its promises made when the 2020-21 sit-in protest at Delhi borders ended.

Commuters in Punjab faced inconvenience on Friday as buses stayed off the roads in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ to press the government to accept farmers’ demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP.

Also read: ‘Delhi Chalo’ protests | Why farmers are marching to Delhi?

Markets and commercial establishments at several places in the state also remained shut while farmers held demonstrations at many places and blocked national highways in Pathankot, Tarn Taran, Bathinda and Jalandhar. 

Another round of meetings between farmer representatives and Union Ministers will be now held on February 18, after ‘positive’ discussions were held between Centre-farmers in the meeting concluded on the intervening night of Thursday-Friday.

On their third day of protest, farmers in huge numbers continued to camp at other inter-state boundaries with Haryana including Shambu-Ambala and Khanauri-Jind. 

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  • February 16, 2024 22:46
    Bharat Bandh affects Mandis in Indore district

    Agriculture markers in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district were partially affected by the ‘Gramin Bharat Bandh’ called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Friday.

    The call for the shut-down had a slight impact on the arrival of farm produce in Mandis but normal life was not affected otherwise, local sources said.

    Members of the SKM and some other farmers’ organisations staged a demonstration outside the divisional commissioner’s office here.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 22:21
    Will intensify agitation in coming days: SKM

    The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has said it will intensify agitation in the coming days as farmers’ groups, along with trade unions and others, observed ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday.

    In a statement issued on the day of the bandh, the SKM also accused the Union government of “vitiating the atmosphere on farmers’ issues” by not keeping its promises made when the 2020-21 sit-in protest at Delhi borders ended.

    “The SKM has decided to immediately intensify agitation and it shall be done with multiple calls for massive actions in coordination with workers and all other sections of the people,” the SKM said in a statement.

    “The Narendra Modi government has deliberately vitiated the atmosphere on farmers’ issues and hoodwinked people into believing that he is truthful and sincere,” it said.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 21:53
    Central govt doing injustice to farmers, claims Jairam Ramesh

    Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over farmers’ protest, alleging that the Center is doing injustice to them.

    Interacting with media persons in Rohtas, Ramesh said, “When the Modi government brought three black laws, the farmers sat on strike for almost a year. After that, the government withdrew the laws and made many promises to the farmers. These promises have not been fulfilled till date”.

    He was referring to three laws that the Modi government had passed in June 2020, stating that those would bring reforms to the farm sector. However, cultivators started protesting against the legislations in November and ended their agitation after Parliament repealed the three laws in the same month next year.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 21:32
    Haryana Police posts videos showing farmers pelting stones

    The Haryana Police on Friday released a series of video clips of several farmers, showing them pelting stones and purportedly attempting to provoke the security personnel at Shambhu border near Ambala.

    Police in its post on X asserted that “ruckus” cannot be allowed under the guise of farmers’ movement.

    Meanwhile, the farmer leaders spearheading the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call claimed that the Haryana security personnel used “force” against protesters by hurling tear gas shells and firing rubber bullets at them, leaving many injured.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 20:56
    Social media accounts suspended: Farmer leader Pandher

    Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher on Friday accused the Centre of trying to “suppress” the voices of the protesters, claiming social media accounts of farmers and YouTubers have been suspended.

    Protesting farmers have stayed put at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab’s border with Haryana for the fourth day after their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops, was stopped by security forces which led to clashes.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 20:25
    Congress condemns police action on farmers

    The Congress on Friday condemned the police action on farmers protesting at Shambhu border and urged the government to fulfil its promises made to them on providing legal guarantee to minimum support price on crops and other demands.

    The party also hit out at the Haryana government, alleging it was creating impediments and committing brutality on peaceful farmers wanting to proceed to Delhi to remind the government of its promise.

    Chairman of the All India Kisan Congress Sukhpal Singh Khaira said at a press conference that the Centre should consider their legitimate demands.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 20:06
    Tarigami leads protest in Jammu in support of agitating farmers

    The Jammu and Kashmir unit of CITU and the Kisan Tehrik led by senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami on Friday held a protest here in support of the farmers who have hit the streets demanding among other things a law guaranteeing a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce.

    Tarigami, who is also the president of J&K unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said the protest was organized in support of the nationwide strike called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) along with central trade unions and federations.

    Amid chants of anti-government, pro-farmer and pro-worker slogans, the protesters assembled outside the Maharaja Hari Singh Park and held a peaceful protest. However, they were not allowed to take out a rally by policemen who were deployed in strength.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 19:24
    Questions should be asked of current PM: Congress on MSP legal guarantee demand

    The Congress on Friday said questions should be asked of the BJP-led government as to why it did not provide legal guarantee of MSP in its 10 year tenure, while claiming that the UPA dispensation under Manmohan Singh had acted on the Swaminathan Commission report and created a consensus on the issue.

    “(Then) PM Manmohan Singh acted on it (Swaminathan committee report). It was debated in Parliament and talks were held with states twice. Agriculture is under states ambit but still we had taken a decision that we will move in that direction. We had big legislations before us such as on food security and land acquisition. We had decided that we will come back and adopt the Swaminanthan formula,” Ramesh said at a press conference in Bihar’s Kaimur during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 19:06
    Thakur reminder to AAP on demand for MSP payout by state governments

    Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday wondered how Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann would respond to the farmer’s agitation when the AAP had once demanded that the state governments pick up the tab for giving the minimum support price (MSP).

    Talking to reporters here, Thakur said the next round of talks with the agitating farmers scheduled to be held on Sunday will be cordial and the farmers will not resort to violence and vandalism.

    He reminded the AAP leadership that they wanted the state government to make payments towards MSP when the Congress was in power at the Centre.

    “When there was a Congress government at the Centre, Arvind Kejriwal used to demand that the Punjab government make MSP payouts to the farmers. Bhagwant Mann also used to raise a lot of questions. Now, Mann is the chief minister. Will he respond to this (Kejriwal’s) demand?” the senior BJP leader asked.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 18:33
    Talks with Centre again on Sunday

    Amid the impasse, the Union ministers and farmer leaders will meet on February 18 for the fourth round of talks. The two sides met on February 8, 12 and 15 as well but those talks remained inconclusive.

    Union Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai represented the Centre at Thursday’s meeting. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema also joined the meeting.

    After the five-hour-long talks, Munda said, “We will find a solution by sitting together.” Mann said he raised with the Centre the issue of suspension of internet services in certain areas in Sangrur, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib, and that of Haryana security personnel using a drone to drop tear gas shells on protesters inside Punjab’s territory.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 18:07
    Haryana Police use tear gas on farmers at Shambhu border

    Haryana Police on Friday fired tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers when they moved towards the barricades at the Shambhu border near Ambala, a day after talks between Union ministers and farmer leaders remained inconclusive.

    The fresh confrontation comes on the fourth day of the farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, to press the government to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 17:44
    Protests held in parts of western UP to mark ‘Bharat Bandh’

    Protests were held in parts of western Uttar Pradesh on Friday to mark the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.

    “We are holding the protest for the demands, including implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, loan waiver etc,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait told reporters.

    On Being asked if he has any plans to go to Delhi, Tikait said, “A meeting is scheduled in Sisauli (Muzaffaranagar) on Saturday, where planning for the future course of action will be made.” Tikait participated in the protest held at the Bagovali crossing on the Delhi-Dehradun National Highway. BKU supporters staged protests at ten places in the district.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 17:19
    Buses stay off roads in Punjab, farmers stage dharnas at toll plazas in Haryana

    Commuters in Punjab faced inconvenience on Friday as buses stayed off the roads in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ to press the government to accept farmers’ demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP.

    Markets and commercial establishments at several places in the state also remained shut while farmers held demonstrations at many places and blocked national highways in Pathankot, Tarn Taran, Bathinda and Jalandhar. They raised slogans against the Centre for not accepting their demands.

    In Haryana’s Hisar, the Haryana Roadways services were paralysed as its employees supported the ‘Bharat Bandh’ and stayed away from work.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 16:45
    50 detained ahead of protest in Lal Chowk in support of farmers’ demands

    The Jammu and Kashmir Police detained 50 trade union leaders and activists who were planning to hold a protest at Lal Chowk here in support of the demands of agitating farmers.

    The protest was planned in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ to press the government to accept the agitating farmers’ demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

    The leaders and activists were detained by police near Pratap Park on Residency Road as they were assembling for protests and taken to Kothibagh police station, officials said.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 16:20
    APMC Act abolition in Bihar main reason for farmers’ distress: Congress

    The Congress said the abolition of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act by the Bihar government in 2006 is the “single most important reason” for the distress faced by the farmers in the state, as the party promised to provide justice to the tillers in the state.

    In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “The contrast between the Modi Government and @INCIndia has never been more evident. On one hand, the regime’s first response to the voice of the people is to label them as anti-national, terrorist, etc. and tear-gas them with drones. On the other, Rahul Gandhi interacts with farmers as equals, hearing their grievances, and learning from their experiences.” “The APMC Act was abolished by the Bihar government in 2006, and this is the single most important reason for the distress faced by the farmers in Bihar,” he said.

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 15:49
    Haryana Police fire tear gas shells as farmers gather near barricades at Shambhu border

    Haryana Police fired tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers when they moved towards the barricades at the Shambhu border near Ambala.

    The fresh confrontation comes on the fourth day of the farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ march to demand a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

    Protesting farmers from Punjab have stayed put at the Shambhu and Khanauri - two points on the State’s border with Haryana. There were clashes between the farmers and Haryana Police personnel on the first two days of the protest as well. - PTI

  • February 16, 2024 15:45
    Why do farmers want a law on MSP?

    The Central Government sets a minimum supportprice(MSP) for 23 crops every year, based on a formula of one-and-a-half times production costs. There is currently no statutory backing for these prices, nor any law mandating their enforcement. The government only procures about a third of wheat and rice crops at MSP rates (of which half is bought in Punjab and Haryana alone), and 10%-20% of select pulses and oilseeds. 

    According to the Shanta Kumar Committee’s 2015 report, only 6% of the farm households sell wheat and rice to the government at MSP rates. However, such procurement has been growing in the last few years, which can also help boost the floor price for private transactions.

    Read more: Explained | What will a legal guarantee of MSP involve?

  • February 16, 2024 15:37
    If INDIA bloc comes to power, we will give legal guarantee to MSP: Rahul Gandhi

    Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said his party will accept long-pending demands of farmers in the country and ensure a legal guarantee to minimum support price (MSP) of crops if the INDIA bloc comes to power after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

    Addressing the ‘Kisan Nyay Panchayat’, a gathering of farmers, in Bihar’s Rohtas, as part of his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, Mr. Gandhi claimed that “cultivators are not getting the remunerative prices for their crops”.

    “If the INDIA bloc comes to power after the general elections, we will give a legal guarantee to MSP. Whenever farmers have asked for something from the Congress, it has been given to them. Be it loan waiver or MSP, we have always protected the interests of cultivators and will do so in future,” Mr. Gandhi said. - PTI

  • February 16, 2024 12:46
    Elderly farmer dies of heart attack at Shambhu border

    A 63-year-old farmer, who was among the farmers protesting at the Shambhu border near Haryana’s Ambala, died of a heart attack on Friday, officials said.

    Gian Singh complained of chest pain in the morning and was taken to the Civil Hospital in Punjab’s Rajpura. From there, he was rushed to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala, where doctors declared him brought dead, they said.

    Singh, who hailed from Punjab’s Gurdaspur district had come to the Shambhu border two days ago to participate in the farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ march aimed at pressing the government to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. 

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 12:24
    Delhi Police on high alert, security beefed up

    Delhi Police is on high alert and security has been tightened in the national capital in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), officials said on Friday. 

    Traffic may be affected in the national capital with barricades put up in several areas, according to police. 

    The SKM has called for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ to press the BJP-led central government to accept farmers’ demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops. 

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 11:40
    Farmer to stay put at Punjab-Haryana borders as deadlock persists

    Protesting farmers will stay put at the two borders of Punjab and Haryana over their various demands as the deadlock persisted despite the third round of talks with a panel of Union Ministers. 

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 11:40
    Will make toll plazas ‘free’ for three hours on February 16: farmers’ group

    The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni), a Haryana-based farmers organisation, has announced to make toll plazas in Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan “free” for three hours and hold tractors march to protest the police action against the agitating farmers. 

    The decisions were taken at the meeting of the farmer group’s office-bearers in Kurukshetra on Thursday.

    BKU (Charuni) spokesperson Rakesh Bains told The Hindu over phone that the toll plazas would be made free from 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Friday.

    Read more here.
  • February 16, 2024 11:13
    Mamata slams BJP over farmers protest; claims party runs ‘govt of Ravan’ at Centre

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the BJP over the ongoing farmers’ protest, accusing them of governing like “Ravan” and surpassing all moral boundaries and showing a blatant disregard for “Lakshman Rekhas.” Banerjee’s remarks, delivered in the assembly, included her decision to postpone a scheduled visit to Punjab as an expression of solidarity with the protesting farmers.

    “Farmers are suffering, the entire country is burning. The BJP is laughing and the poor are being tortured. This is what BJP does. But the BJP is not bothered. It is the government of Ravan, which has crossed all Lakshman Rekhas,” Banerjee declared.

    She said that she spoke with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and has decided to defer the Punjab visit in favour of supporting the farmers’ agitation in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. 

    PTI

  • February 16, 2024 11:07
    Delhi Police places order for 30,000 tear gas shells ahead of ‘Bharat Bandh’

    Farmer and trade unions have called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday amid the persisting blockade at the Singhu and Tikri borders between Delhi and Haryana, where 5,000 security personnel continue to be deployed, among other strategic locations, as the farmers’ protest enters its fourth day.

    The Delhi Police on Thursday placed an order for more than 30,000 tear gas shells to prevent the farmers from entering the Capital as part of their ‘Dilli Challo’ protest, an official said, adding that the police will be “extra vigilant” on Friday.

    The Delhi Police has also imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for a month, banning the gathering of five or more people taking part in processions or rallies, and has banned the entry of tractor-trolleys into Delhi.

    Read the whole story here.
  • February 16, 2024 10:55
    Internet shutdown extended in Haryana

    The Haryana government has announced the extension of internet shutdown in districts including Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa tomorrow in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by the farmers. 

    This is the third time that internet services have been suspended in the State this month, due to the protests. 

    ANI

  • February 16, 2024 10:15
    Congress will enact law relating to MSP, says Kharge

    Expressing their solidarity with the protesting farmers Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday that his party will give legal status to Minimum Support Price if it forms government after the Lok Sabha polls. 

    “Understand the chronology of injustice done to farmers by Modi government. To win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi ji had promised to give input cost + 50 pc MSP to the farmers. ‘Modi’s guarantee’ was rejected by his own government - with an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in 2015, with an Agriculture Ministry’s RTI response in 2016,” Mr. Kharge said in a post on X. 

  • February 16, 2024 09:56
    “We appeal to PM again... not a question of Punjab or Haryana alone”: Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher

    Amid a third round of talks with the central government ending in a stalemate, the General Secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Sarwan Singh Pandher on Friday urged an intervention on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the farmers’ issues adding that they would like to solve the issues ‘amicably’. 

    Addressing a press conference on Friday, the farmer leader raised concerns over the central government’s use of para-military forces to resist the farmers that have left hundreds injured. 

    ”The demands of the farmers and farm labourers of the country are united, everyone is fighting together. Look, now there are 54 serious injuries. The way the overall number is 400. People have suffered huge losses,” he said. 

    ANI

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