Perpetuity Of A Protest: Agriculture Reform Bill 2020

Perpetuity Of A Protest: Agriculture Reform Bill 2020

  • September 30, 2021
  • Politics

The unaddressed concerns of farmers have brought them in battle ground again. It’s been 10 months since the farmers are protesting against farm laws. To mark the day of completion of 10 months of protest, a Bharat Bandh was organized on Monday, September 27. They called for nationwide protest and appealed everyone to support them.

The Bharat Bandh organized by farmers, gathered support from more than 500 farmer organizations, 15 trade unions, different political parties mainly from the opposition, six state governments and various sections of society also.

Rakesh Tikait, who has been the harbinger of famers’ protests in these months, is in the limelight again. He is also spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union from Uttar Pradesh. Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions has called for a 10 hours’ Bharat Bandh today from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. by the

“It was on September 27, 2020 that President Shri Ram Nath Kovind assented to and brought into force the three anti-farmer black laws last year. Tomorrow, there will be a total Bharat Bandh observed around the country from 6 AM to 4 PM, "The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), said in a statement.

Farmers union and their followers, including trade unions, have made detailed plans to ensure that daily routine remains suspended today across the country, only the emergency services will remain open. The Famers’ union told the media that 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 emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted. During this time, all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries, and commercial establishments, as well as public events and functions, will be closed throughout the country, as per the Kisan Morcha.

 

The supporters of Bharat Bandh-

The SKM asked the political parties to "stand with farmers in their quest to defend principles of democracy and federalism".

The state governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh came in support of the Bharat Bandh. Also the Congress party and Priyanka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party and many other parties like Indian National Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, SAD-Sanyukt, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Swaraj India supported the protestors. According to sources, a farmer died in the protest due to heart-attack at Sindhu-border.

 

What was the schedule of Bharat Bandh?

Farmers protesting against the three farm laws sat on railway tracks at Devidaspura village in Amritsar, in support of Bharat Bandh. They appealed for complete peace during the Bandh and urged all Indians to join the strike. It caused massive traffic movement in Delhi and huge jam at Gurgaon border.

Central Trade Unions organized a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi at 11 a.m. Several bar associations and local units of the All India Lawyers' Union also came with the farmers. Due to these protects, the traffic police of Delhi faced difficulties in handling the vehicles. Huge traffic was seen on Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal, Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Roads.

 

Is it legal to call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’?

As  per the article 19, which deals with the ‘Right to Freedom’, there is part (1) which deals with right to freedom of speech and expression , under this in section (j), the right to demonstration or picketing has been provided. The right to strike is not a fundamental right. But the right to strike is provided under the industrial disputes act, 1947 which is a statutory right. So a peaceful Bharat Bandh is valid and it is not punitive if it is peaceful. Because in a healthy democracy, it is important for the people to raise their voice if they feel that something unjust has been done with them.

 

What will be the next step of farmers?

The farmers are continuously protesting since 10 months. There have been several rounds of talks between the Farmers’ union and the government. Both parties are rigid on their stances and this is creating the deadlock between them. Government is firm on its belief that the agricultural laws are good for farmers whereas the farmers are still concerned about being the puppets of industrialist who will exploit them once the Mandis get closed.  Some people also claim that farmers’ union is politically motivated and is protesting on demonstration of the opposition. But whatever might be the reason, government should find a way to negotiate or address the concerns of farmers. This will save people from difficulties due to traffic jam and other difficulties due the protests. This will also present the government as a responsible government which knows to handle the situation. After all, farmers are the backbone of our country.

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