Bharat Bandh Latest Updates: Undeterred to move away from their agitation, the protesting farmers on Friday called for a 12-hour Bharat Bandh across the country which so far has received good response in Punjab and Haryana but is witnessing minimal impact in Uttar Pradesh. According to the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha, the nationwide shutdown started at 6 AM and it will be in force up to 6 PM across the country. The Bharat Bandh has been called to mark four months of the farmer agitation which started at Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri.Also Read - 'Aana Mana Hai': Banner Barring BJP Workers From Entering Police Station In Meerut Goes Viral, 6 Arrested

1) Rail traffic across Punjab and Haryana was badly hit as farmers, farm labourers, commission agents, trade unions and activists of political parties squatted on railway lines and national highways. There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in Punjab and Haryana. Also Read - Monkeypox: UP Issues SOPs; Hospitals To Keep Tabs On Patients With Symptoms, International Travellers Under Scanner

2) However, the emergency medical services were exempted from the blockade in Punjab and Haryana. Also Read - Punjab: Toll On Muktsar-Kotkapura Highway Made Tax-Free. Here's Why

3) Activists of several farmer associations were seen asking traders at several places in the Congress-ruled Punjab to keep their shops and business establishments closed to mark the pan-India protest.

4) Reports of blocking roads and highways were received from Punjab’s Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places.

5) Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan told news agency IANS that the farmers would observe complete blockade of rail and road movement. Taxis and other vehicles would also not be allowed, he added.

6) Expressing solidarity with farmers, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has control over Sikh religious affairs and manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar, has announced closing its offices.

7) Barring a few districts in western Uttar Pradesh, the majority of the districts in the state witnessed normal road and rail movement.

8) Farmers blocked NH 24 which led to minimal traffic on the route. The blocking of the Ghazipur border and the proximity of some districts to the venue of farmers’ agitation on the outskirts of Delhi, however, had an impact and private transport movement was restricted.

9) The Uttar Pradesh government has made a heavy deployment of police on all major roads and highways to ensure that the Bharat Bandh call was not forcibly implemented.

10) Since schools and educational institutions in Uttar Pradesh have already been closed due to the surge in Covid cases, the restriction on road transport did not affect the common man in the morning hours.