Bengaluru: Lending support to the ongoing protest against the new Farm Bills, thousands of farmers across Karnataka joined in on Monday morning. A day-long bandh, called by several farmers, Dalits and pro-Kannada organisations, saw protesters engaged in efforts to make it a success across the state.Also Read - Karnataka Records Over 50,000 New COVID Cases, Bengaluru Contributes More Than Half | 10 Points
Their concerns included changes to the Land Acquisition Act — which makes it easier for non-farmers to buy agricultural land — and amendments to the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC) Act, which lists rules for procuring farm produce. Also Read - Bengaluru Schools Reopening: Karnataka Govt to Take Call on January 29, Says Education Minister
Hundreds of farmers were seen holding demonstrations outside the Town Hall in Bengaluru by noon. Others blocked roads in parts of the city till they were told to move by the police. Also Read - Weekend Curfew Ends In Karnataka, Night Restrictions Continue | Read Latest Guidelines
“They are lying to farmers. Narendra Modi is a liar and to being what he says into practice in this state, Yediyurappa is also repeating the lie. This is all against farmers,” said K Chandrashekhar, the chief of Farmer’s Federation of Karnataka.
Both opposition parties Congress and JD(S) extended their support to the Bandh call given by these organisations and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee even staged a protest in front of its state headquarters.
“One thing is very clear, both Narendra Modi and BS Yediyurappa are harmful for agriculture,” said Randeep Surjewala of the Congress.
“The farmers are agitating. This anti-farmer, anti-farm labour government continues to diabolically suppress and stifle the voice of the farmer. We stand united with the farmer until the land reform bill and the APMC Act are withdrawn, our struggle will continue,” he added.
On Saturday, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar had firmly opposed the proposed amendments and hit out at the ruling BJP, saying they want to keep the farmers as “slaves”.
In a strong bid to discourage the state-wide shutdown, the Karnataka government had directed major transport corporations to keep open its operations, but in some districts like Belagavi, Dharwad where farmers and pro-Kannada activists hold sway seized bus stations not allowing movement of the vehicles.
Bengaluru city police commissioner, Kamal Panth through his Twitter asserted that the police had taken all measures and it would act tough on those trying to force shutdown in the city.
(With inputs from agencies)