Khammam : Novel protests by student activists in Khammam and Praja Natya Mandali artistes in Bhadrachalam highlighting the anguish of farmers against the Centre’s new farm laws besides road blockades by demonstrators marked the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers’ front in the former composite Khammam district on Tuesday. Normal life was hit in the district, considered as the traditional stronghold of Left parties, as TSRTC buses remained off roads and shopkeepers downed their shutters in most parts of the district during the day.
All parties’ support
Except for the BJP, almost all political parties, including the ruling TRS, main Opposition Congress, CPI (M), CPI and CPI (ML-ND), participated in the bandh. Several children clad in farming attire staged a novel demonstration carrying a small plough under the aegis of the PDSU near the bus stand in Khammam. The student activists enacted a scene in a symbolic protest against the alleged attempts by the BJP dispensation at the Centre to ‘hand over’ the farm sector to big corporate entities and the strong resistance from farmers to the move. The demonstration drew the attention of passers-by. Transport Minister P. Ajay Kumar along with Khammam MP Nama Nageswara Rao and others participated in a dharna at the Telangana Thalli statue along NH 365 BB in Khammam.
Addressing the demonstration, Mr. Nageswara Rao alleged that the Centre passed the farm laws in a dictatorial manner, unmindful of the widespread opposition from farmers. Conveying the TRS’s steadfast support to the agitation by farmers braving the bone chilling cold near Delhi border, he demanded that the Centre repeal the new farm laws forthwith. In Bhadradri-Kothagudem district, activists of the CPI (M), the CPI and the CPI (ML-ND) staged a huge protest rally. CPI (M) senior leader and former MP Midiam Babu Rao, party town committee secretary G. Swamy and others took part in the rally.Praja Natya Mandali artistes performed a skit exposing the ‘vulnerability’ of farmers to the ‘exploitative corporate forces’. Activists of the CITU, the AITUC and other trade unions staged protest rallies in Kothagudem and elsewhere in the district against the farm laws. There were reports of minor disruption to coal dispatches at some mines of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) owing to ‘non-operation’ of private trucks due to Bharat Bandh. However, the SCCL sources said the coal mining activities continued normally on Tuesday as the trade unions have not given any strike call but only extended their support to the bandh.