Shops and commercial establishments remained shut at many places in Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday morning in view of a ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmer unions to protest the Centre’s three farm laws.
Petroleum dealers in Punjab closed filling stations to back the call for the nationwide strike. There are over 3,400 fuel pumps in Punjab. Farmer leaders appealed to shopkeepers and traders to keep their shutters down.
Farmer leaders have said they would block key roads and occupy toll plazas during their ‘chakka jam’ protest from 11 am to 3 pm.
Police personnel have been deployed in adequate strength in both the states to maintain law and order, officials said.
In Ludhiana, a group of protesters squatted on a road to express solidarity with the protesting farmers. Some protesters were seen performing kirtan near the Jagraon bridge. Members of Muslim community also carried out a march in support of farmers in Ludhiana.
In Patiala, milk and vegetable supply was hit as agitating farmers stopped vendors from entering the city. Members of Punjabi University teaching faculty and students closed campus gates and held protest in solidarity with protesting farmers.
Lawyers staged a dharna in support of the farmers in Ropar.
Bathinda and Mansa districts in Punjab also witnessed a complete shutdown. Farmers staged protests at various points in the Bathinda district and blocked the Bathinda-Amritsar national highway at Kanhiya Chowk, and near toll plaza in Jeeda village. The Bathinda-Chandigarh highway was blocked at Lehra Bega toll plaza.
Farmers also blocked railway tracks on the Bathinda-Ambala and Bathinda-Jind railway lines. Shops and commercial establishments also remained closed in Ferozepur, Fazilka, Faridkot, Barnala, and Muktsar districts.
In Moga, the farm unions staged protests at 13 locations while the Congress and Akali workers also protested against the farm laws at two locations.
The continuous protest outside the silo owned by Adani group of industries at Dagru village also continued on the 62nd day, on Tuesday.
In neighbouring BJP-JJP ruled Haryana, opposition parties Congress and Indian National Lok Dal have extended their support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’. Farmers started assembling on highways and other key roads in both states from the morning.
The Haryana Police had issued a travel advisory stating that people might face traffic blockades on various roads and highways of the state.
In Bhiwani, farmers sat in the middle of the road in Jui village and blocked the vehicular movement. Protesters in Dhanana village staged a sit-in and blocked the main road.
Farmers in Karnal took out a march and requested shopkeepers to close their establishments till 3 pm in support of their demands. They also blocked roads at two places in Jundla and Thari village.
In Hisar, the protesting farmers blocked the Hisar-Chandigarh highway in Sarsod village in support of the Bharat Bandh call.
Public transport remained off the road, train services were suspended and no movement of private vehicles was witnesses on the national and state highways, which were blocked at about 100 locations in these districts.
At many places, local police set-up barricades to stop the movement of vehicles on the roads which were blocked by the farmers.