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Bharat bandh evokes mixed response

New Delhi; Sept 27: The 10-hour long Bharat Bandh called by the farmers’ groups protesting the three contentious laws and supported by some opposition parties was marked by sporadic incidents in some states, rail and highway blockades.

Normal life was hit in Punjab and Haryana even as commercial establishments remained open in other parts of the country. Bharat Kissan Union leader Rakesh Tikait described the bandh as a “success”.

In Punjab, the ruling Congress-led government supported the farmers’ cause, making it the only state where the bandh evoked widespread support and shutdown.

Train services were hit across the northern states including Punjab as bandh supporters squatted on the rail tracks at various places. According to a northern railway spokesperson, services of 25 trains were disrupted. They included the Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab express and the Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi. Reports of massive traffic snarls were reported across national highways in these states.

The bandh-call in BJP-ruled states by and large remained peaceful, except for some minor incidents. Bengaluru DCP (North) Dharmendra Kumar Meena, according to some media reports, received injuries during a protest in the city as an SUV partially runs over his leg.

Activities in the commercial capital of Mumbai remained normal. However, some Congress workers took out protest marches in some pockets, though no extra police deployment was reported.

“Our Bharat Bandh was successful. We had the full support of farmers…We can’t seal down everything as we have to facilitate the movement of people. We are ready for talks with the government but no discussions are happening,” Tikait told the media.

Political parties such as the Congress, the Left, the DMK, SP, BSP, RJD and TMC had extended their solidarity to the agitating farmers, whose protest over the enactment of the three farm laws has stretched for over a year now.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has called upon the farmers on Sunday to give up the path of agitation and sit with the government for dialogue.

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