The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said that the Bharat Bandh called by farmers’ unions protesting against the agricultural laws was a befitting reply to the “state-sponsored anarchy”, PTI reported. Opposition parties, along with trade unions, retail and transport associations and many professional bodies, supported the nationwide shutdown on Tuesday from 11 am to 3 pm to repeal the three contentious laws.

In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said that the Narendra Modi government wants to keep the Damocles’ sword of “fear and terror” hanging on the country for its own political interests. “Instead of resolving unrest in the country, it wants to keep it [unrest] burning,” the party alleged.

The Sena criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for using terms like “Khalistanis” and “anti-nationals” to describe the protesting farmers. BJP’s Information Technology cell head Amit Malviya and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar have termed sections of the agitators as “Khalistanis” and “Maoists”.

“What the BJP is doing in West Bengal is political chaos where caste and religious polarisation is being done,” the editorial said. “Threats of bloodshed and violence are being given. This is anarchy.”

The Shiv Sena added that if the government had resolved the matters raised by farmers’, they would have gone back home by now.

Farm law protests

The Parliament had passed three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for the last 13 days against the laws. The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations. The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies.

They rejected the government’s proposal to amend three controversial laws on Wednesday and called for a nationwide protest on December 14. Meanwhile, members of the Krantikari Kisan Union also said that they will block the Delhi-Jaipur highway on Saturday.

Opposition parties have also criticised the reforms, saying they would benefit big business and not farmers. Earlier in the day, they met President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to ask the government to accept farmers’ demands.

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