The Mahavikas Aghadi Government, (alliance of the Indian National Congress (INC,) the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena) called for a statewide bandh (strike.) The strike has been called to protest against the killing of farmers in the Lakhimpur incident.
In the Lakhimpur area of Kheri district, Uttar Pradesh, a Minister’s son ran over and killed eight people including farmers, with a SUV. On the 3rd of October, eight people were killed after a SUV driven by Ashish Mishra Teni (the son of Mr. Ajay Mishra Teni, the Union Home Minister for Uttar Pradesh) ran over them. The incident not only sparked tension amongst protesting farmers but also gave political mileage to the opposition, demanding strict action against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s son, who is responsibile for the murder.
The incident created a huge ruckus, demanding justice for the deceased farmers and their families. Opposition leaders and parties staged protests and criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government for extending support to the U.P., Home Minister’s son and taking no action against the BJP Minister, Mr. Ashish Mishra Teni and his son.
To intensify the protest of the farmers, the Maharashtra Government announced a bandh till 4:00 P.M., today, the 11th of October.
Mr. Nawab Malik, the Spokesperson of the NCP said, “The BJP-led Central Government has allowed the loot of agriculture produce through the three newly-enacted farm laws and now the kin of its minister is killing farmers. We have to show solidarity with the cultivators.” Criticising the Central Government for not taking action, Mr. Malik further said, “It was only after the Supreme Court’s intervention that the minister’s son was arrested.”
The MVA Government urged people to support the bandh. In addition, restaurants, shops and other business establishments extended support and remained closed for today. The Federation of Trade Association of Pune (FTAP) president Fattechand Ranka said all shops, except those dealing in essential items, will remain closed till 3:00 P.M., Monday.
Approximately 2,000 traders dealing in fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, onions and potatoes etc., extended support to the bandh, showing solidarity with the farmers who play an important role in their sector. The support of traders was confirmed by Mr. Rohan Ursal, the Secretary of the Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Adate (Traders) Association.
To show solidarity, the NCP workers and Mumbai Government leaders would also observe Maun Vrat (vow of silence) outside the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Farmers unions and groups of 21 districts of Maharashtra also supported the bandh and urged to make the protest a success, creating awareness amongst people regarding the anti farmer policies and the cruel Lakhimpur incident.
However, to ensure the protest progresses smoothly, without any violence, the Maharashtra Government deployed three companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF,) 500 Home Guard personnel and 400 men from the Local Arms units. They are deployed to control and ensure peaceful protest, especially when the State is celebrating Navratri.
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