New Delhi, December 8, 2020: India witnessed one of the largest ever nationwide strikes in recent memory as aggrieved farmers and workers observed a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Tuesday, intensifying the ongoing farmers’ protest over the controversial farm laws.
The day’s proceedings, involving millions of people from the farm sector and labour force observed the strike from 11am to 3pm, forcing the country’s home minister to call an unscheduled meeting with the protesting leaders in the evening.
Crucial talks had been scheduled for Wednesday between the farmer leaders and top government officials.
Less than two weeks ago on November 26, 2020, when workers had held a similar nationwide strike protesting against labour policy reforms, several media reports had estimated that it was possibly one of the largest general strikes in modern history, involving at least 200 million (25 crore) people, although Empire Diaries couldn’t independently verify the number of participants.
In comparison, Tuesday’s strike to support the farmers’ movement had been expected to involve the participation of farmers and workers on a similar scale, if not more.
The Bharat Bandh saw countless farmer bodies, workers’ union members, activists and supporters take to the streets across India, holding rallies, shouting slogans, and generally calling on the federal government to scrap its long-term plans for privatisation and corporatisation on the pretext of reform.