December 8 ‘bandh’: Delhi Traffic Police announce diversions, close borders


As the massive farmers protest entered its twelfth day on December 7, the Delhi Traffic Police have begun sharing information on the various routes they have closed, and diverted, ahead of the Bharat Bandh called on December 8. The farmers’ protest along the Delhi-Haryana border has now also found support from farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana who have begun sit-ins along various state-border crossings that lead into Delhi.


The Delhi Traffic Police have closed four major city borders including Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari and Mangesh. The bandh (nationwide shut down) is a day ahead of the next round of talks between the Farmers’ leaders and the Union government. Five rounds of lengthy talks have remained inconclusive so far, and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar called another meeting on Wednesday, December 9.

Saturday’s meeting yielded no breakthrough on the key issue: The repeal of the three farm laws. Farmers have always stated so far that they will settle for nothing less. At that meeting farmers’ representative’s had also held a silent protest, holding up placards that said “Yes Or No”. Earlier they also threatened to walk out of what they called “meaningless” talks. After the meeting Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said a new proposal would be placed before the farmers after discussions within the government. 


Soon, a call for a nationwide shutdown on December 8, was given by the protesting farmers and was supported by most political parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that forms the Delhi Government, the host city of the protest as it were. On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that all AAP workers across the country will support the nationwide strike and also appealed to all citizens to support the farmers. On Monday, Kejriwal visited the Delhi-Haryana border, where many thousands of farmers are protesting peacefully against the farm laws. He was accompanied by his Cabinet ministers and some party MLAs during the brief visit to the protest venue at Singhu border and stated that the AAP “supported all demands of farmers.” According to news reports he said that he was visiting as a volunteer, a ‘sevadar’ who was standing in solidarity with the farmers. He reiterated that his party supported the December 8th Bharat Bandh, and that “party workers will participate in it across the nation.” 

More and more farmers are reported to be gathering at the Ghazipur-Delhi border from across Uttar Pradesh. The numbers of farmers from Haryana and Punjab and other states are swelling to lakhs, say some estimates, at both the Singhu and Tikri borders. 



According to AAP’s Lok Sabha MP from Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, “We will do our best to support farmers in the nationwide strike on December 8. This strike is not political. It is about farmers, their land, and their livelihood. It concerns the entire nation. I urge everyone to support farmers. The central government has been doing one meeting after another for the past several days with top ministers but they have not been able to resolve the issue. Resolving the issue needs political will and good intent.” According to CM Kejriwal, who is perhaps the only CM to visit the protest site, the party MLA Jarnail Singh had even spent the night at the protest with the farmer.



According to various news reports the Bharat Bandh is likely to see gathering at various Delhi borders including at toll plazas on December 8. The farmers have sought a special session of Parliament to be called to repeal the laws.


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