Farmer unions on Wednesday called for a countrywide strike, or Bharat bandh, on March 26, the day their protest against the three farm laws at Delhi’s borders completes four months, reported PTI.
Farmer leader Buta Singh Burjgill said the farmers, along with trade unions, will also protest against the increase in fuel prices and privatisation of Railways on March 15. “We will observe a complete Bharat bandh on March 26, when our protest against the three farm laws completes four months,” he said. “The peaceful bandh will remain effective from morning till evening.”
Burjgill said that they will also observe “Mandi Bachao-Kheti Bachao [save markets, save farming]” day on March 19. The farmer unions will celebrate “Shaheedi divas” (martyr’s day) of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, Burjgill said. The event falls on March 23. The farmers will also burn copies of the farm laws during Holika Dahan on March 28.
The farm laws protest
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points for more than 100 days, seeking the withdrawal of the agricultural laws passed in September. Farmers’ unions have also been organising “mahapanchayats” or farmers’ conclaves to mobilise support for the protest.
The farmers’ protests had largely been peaceful but violence erupted on January 26, when a tractor rally planned to coincide with Republic Day celebrations turned chaotic. More than 100 protestors were arrested in connection with the violence and several went missing.
The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate agricultural. 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. The laws are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.