The three-party Maharashtra Vikas Agadi (MVA) government has called for a statewide bandh on Monday (October 11) in protest against the killing of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri. The Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association (FRTWA) stated that shops will be closed till 4 pm.
On October 3, four farmers protesting against the farm laws were mowed down by the SUV allegedly in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni. Four others were killed in the violence that ensued later. Ashish on Saturday was arrested and has been remanded to 14 days of judicial custody by a local court.
According to an announcement by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard trader’s union, all the fruit, vegetable, potato and oil markets will not open their shops on Monday. The association has appealed to the farmers not to bring their produce to the market on Monday. However, essential services will continue to operate.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik requested the people of Maharashtra to support farmers and asked them to stop their work for a day on account of the strike. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, expressing support to the bandh, said to the media, “What happened in Lakhimpur Kheri was a murder of the Constitution, a violation of the law and a conspiracy to kill farmers of the country.”
The BJP has criticized the bandh. Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday commented that the ruling parties are politicising the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
MLA Nitesh Rane of the BJP tweeted, “If shopkeepers are ‘forced’ to close shops tomorrow by any of the MVA karyakartas…then they will have to face BJP karyakartas! Police should ensure no one is forced, or else there will be a law and order situation which is not our responsibility.”
Security arrangements have been tightened in view of the bandh. Reportedly, 500 Home Guards and 700 men from local units of the Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have been deployed to prevent any adverse event during the bandh.