Distressing times on the roads say travelers stuck during Bharat Bandh.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a body that brings together more than 40 agricultural unions, led the protest today from 6 am to 4 pm against three controversial agricultural laws. The group had said they will not allow movement on some sections of national highways.
Among them near the national capital was the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal highway, which suffered a massive traffic jam when farmers called for a nationwide lockdown to protest for a year of controversial farm laws. But the protesters insisted that the emergency services were not affected.
On the ground, the report saw several of these people, some defenseless for emergency reasons, being fired. One man said his father suffered cardiac arrest and needed to be rushed to hospital. Another said he had an appointment at the hospital and had to be on time. They also gave way to him.
At 10 a.m., on the KMP highway, which covers more than 100 km, a part of which was blocked by protesting farmers, several cars got stuck in traffic. Many said they were not aware of the bandh, and some said they did not know that it would affect the KMP Expressway.
Amarjeet, a resident of Sonipat, was traveling to Gurgaon. He said he was upset that a bandh was called in an unfavorable way for travelers. “I have a flight to Dubai tomorrow for which I have to take an RT-PCR today and I am already late for my shift. This is no way to protest by bothering the common man, who is already very upset,” he said.
Ravi, another passenger from Sonipat to Gurgaon, seemed helpless when asked how long he was stuck in traffic due to the agitation. “How is an ordinary man going to survive and feed his family if he has to face this when he goes out into the outside world?” he said.
Another traveler told the ANI news agency that “there will be no result. The prime minister is doing the right thing in his capacity and the farmers are doing it for political gain.”
One farmer told NewsGater: “Until these laws are repealed, no one will move or go anywhere … We have been doing this for 10 months. We are not fighting for ourselves but for the country.”
When the clock struck 4 p.m., the farmers lifted the 10-hour blockade and cleared the way for regular traffic.
At a protest in Ghazipur, in the western UP, BKU spokesman Rakesh Tikait called the bandh a success.
“Bharat Bandh was a success and the public supported it. It is okay if the public experienced any inconvenience. One day let us show solidarity with the farmers who have been experiencing problems in the sun and heat for the past 10 months,” he said.
Farmers on the ground say they will not stop protesting unless their demands to repeal farm laws are met.
Devika Chowdhury – She is a professional news editor, writer, and blogger for the last 10 years. She is working with NewsGater as an off-beat news editor cum writer.