New Delhi:The 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmers on Tuesday in protest against the three farm laws and joined by 19 political parties including Congress, began peacefully at 1100 Hrs but turned unruly at several places as activists of political parties turned violent and resorted to forcible road blockades.
Fearing hijacking of the Bandh by political parties, the centre had issued an advisory to state governments and Union Territory administrations to maintain law and order and strictly maintain COVID precautions.
The Bandh called by agitating farmers unions to be held a day before talks between them and the government on December nine, will be observed till 1600 hrs, the farmers leaders said and added that it was a symbolic protest.
Nineteen political parties including Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), SP, BSP, AAP jumped into the protest and extended support to the Bandh. The AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had yesterday visited the protesting farmers and announced his support. AAP leaders alleged that Mr Kejriwal had been put under house arrest after his visit on Monday. Police, however, rubbished the allegation.
Even though farmers were peaceful in their protest, political activists in many states turned violent, blocked railway tracks, roads and resorted to stone pelting.
Congress and BJP activists clashed in Jaipur while in Patna political activists disrupted vehicular traffic and damaged private vehicles. On GT-Karnal road at Singhu border on the outskirts of the national capital, thousands of protestors shouted slogans and disrupted traffic.
On Delhi-NOIDA border Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) activists blocked the main road.However, in West Bengal TMC did not support the Bandh.
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the opposition which was getting defeated in all elections were ''shooting from the shoulders of farmers''. He said the Congress and other opposition had frequently opposed all steps taken by the BJP including CAA etc.
He said talks were already being held with farmers and the next round is to be held on Wednesday. The farmers should see the work the government had done for them.
''This protest is happening just because the opposition wants to oppose,'' he said and added that the government wanted to free farmers from middlemen.Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government would try its best to convince the farmers and make them realize that the farm laws are in their favour. (UNI)