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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ruling MVA Alliance calls for Maharashtra Bandh as a Protest Against Lakhimpur Violence

The Three Allies Have Made it Clear that the Bandh is not Government-Sponsored

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The three partners- Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress, in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra have appealed to the people to wholeheartedly support Monday’s state-wide bandh called by them to protest the killing of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on October Three.

Four others, including BJP workers and a journalist, were killed in a violence triggered by the deaths of farmers who were run over by cars, allegedly ferrying BJP workers, last week.

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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was on her way to violence-hit Lakhimpur Kheri was detained by the UP Police on October 04. Subsequently, Priyanka and her brother Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached Lakhimpur Kheri on October 06, after UP Government allowed them to visit the families of the farmers killed in the violence.

A day-long state-wide bandh called for by the ruling MVA alliance to protest against the killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, began in parts of the state, with vehicles going off the road from Sunday midnight.

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The call for bandh has been endorsed by the Samyukt Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) and other left-oriented parties in support of the Farmer Victims of Lakhimpur Kheri. The SSKM comprises the various Left and Democratic Political Parties, Kisan Organisations, Trade Unions, People’s, Women, Students, and Youth organizations. The SSKM has been continually extending its support to the farmer’s movement in Mumbai and across Maharashtra.

The bandh has been supported by Jan Andolananchi Sangharsh Samiti, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Trade Unions Joint Action Committee, Unorganized Workers Struggle Committee, Central Vista Virodhi Bharat, Hum Bharat ke Log, and Nation for Farmers.

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While Ashish Mishra, the son of the UP Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, has been arrested and sent to 14-day judicial custody by Uttar Pradesh police, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee has pressed for demands which include: To ensure a free and fair investigation, Ajay Mishra, must immediately resign, the investigation must be overseen by the Judiciary and must be conducted by a Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court. 

 While essential services such as medical stores, milk supply, hospitals, etc have been kept out of the Maharashtra Bandh, other markets would be closed. Pune’s Agriculture Produce Market Committee has announced that it will participate in the bandh. Similarly, Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard traders have also asked its members to keep all the shops closed. The Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) said in a press statement that it has decided to keep shops shut till 4 pm in support of the bandh called by the ruling coalition. Mumbai’s “Dabbawalas” providing tiffin services to office goers have also supported the call for Maharashtra bandh.

NCP, Shiv Sena, and the Congress leaders have said that people will come on their own to back the Bandh. NCP’s Minister and National spokesman Nawab Malik said that his party workers will urge people to participate in the shutdown voluntarily. ‘Son of a BJP leader crushed farmers under the vehicle,’ posted Nawab Malik on Twitter while announcing the Maharashtra Bandh.  Similarly Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut announced that his party will participate in the bandh with full force.

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said that his party would observe “maun vrat” (vow of silence) outside the Raj Bhavan in South Mumbai protesting against the deaths in Lakhinpur Kheri.

However the BJP has appealed to farmers, traders, shopkeepers, and others not to participate in the bandh. BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said that since the Uttar Pradesh police have already arrested the accused and have been investigating the matter, the bandh is uncalled for.

Reacting to the call for Maharashtra Bandh, BJP leader Nitesh Rane said in a tweet, “If shopkeepers are “forced” to close shops by any of the MVA karyakartas.. they will have to face bjp karyakartas (BJP workers)! Police should ensure no one is forced to shut or else there will be a law and order situation which is not our responsibility!!”

In the meanwhile, the security has been tightened in Maharashtra and patrolling has been intensified for the bandh.

However the BJP has appealed to farmers, traders, shopkeepers, and others not to participate in the bandh. BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said that since the Uttar Pradesh police have already arrested the accused and have been investigating the matter, the bandh is uncalled for.

Reacting to the call for Maharashtra Bandh, BJP leader Nitesh Rane said in a tweet, “If shopkeepers are “forced” to close shops by any of the MVA karyakartas.. they will have to face bjp karyakartas (BJP workers)! Police should ensure no one is forced to shut or else there will be a law and order situation which is not our responsibility!!”

In the meanwhile, the security has been tightened in Maharashtra and patrolling has been intensified for the bandh.

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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