Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 27
Several trains were cancelled, highways and key roads blocked and thousands of commuters stranded for hours on Monday as the nationwide 10-hour shutdown against the Centre’s three agri laws disrupted life across parts of India, particularly in the North.
The 6 am to 4 pm Bharat Bandh, which saw demonstrations and rallies at many places, passed off relatively peacefully with no reports of injuries or serious clashes. The impact was felt the most around Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, the centre of farm protests, and also in pockets of Kerala, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
Protesters blocked highways and arterial roads and squatted on tracks at several places from morning as the shutdown called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, got underway to mark Presidential assent to the three laws.
The SKM claimed in a statement that its call for a shutdown had received an “unprecedented and historic” response in more than 23 states. Looking ahead, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said at an online discussion that a solution could only be reached through dialogue and not in the courts.
Though life in large parts of India was unhindered by the shutdown, North India felt the pinch with about 50 trains being affected and massive jams that prevented the cross-border movement of commuters as well as trucks carrying essentials.
The Delhi-NCR region, including the satellite towns of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida, where thousands cross the borders each day was particularly hit. Even as business activity remained largely unaffected, the Capital witnessed large-scale traffic jams in several parts of the city and border areas adjoining Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
With heavy security deployed to avoid any untoward incident, the Delhi Police carried out security checks at its border points, causing the traffic to slow down. The roads around the historic Red Fort as well as the dual carriageway at Ghazipur border were closed to traffic. The police, however, kept giving updates to commuters about road closures and traffic snarls on Twitter. A senior police officer said no protester was allowed to enter Delhi from the three protest sites (Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur).
The Uttar Pradesh Police had closed the national highway connecting Ghaziabad and Nizamuddin in Delhi. Heavy police force and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) were deployed, SSP Pawan Kumar said.
- Punjab, Haryana, UP, Jammu, Bihar, Kerala
- Parts of Assam, K’taka, TN , Maha, R’sthan
- Movement disrupted in parts of Jharkhand
- In Bengal, activists block roads, rail tracks
- Odisha shops shut, public transport off road
- Mixed response Chhattisgarh, Puducherry
- Tepid response Andhra Pradesh
(With inputs from PTI)
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