Should There Be Ban On Bandhs?

Bandhs in India

A bandh is a form of protest, where citizens are expected to stay indoors and avoid going to schools, offices and other public places. It is a kind of civil disobedience movement, where citizens shut down all public places in order to get their demands fulfilled.

In recent years, there have been a number of bandhs across the country, the latest one being the ‘Bharat Bandh‘ that took place in April 2018, when supreme court passed the order under SC/ST Act, under which many innocent people were falsely accused of abusing Dalits and were immediately sent to jail on a mere complaint without any enquiry. The bandh caused the deaths of nine people and several people were severely injured due to violent protest.

Why Bandhs should be banned?

While bandh is a form of protest, which is a part of the fundamental right, but one person’s fundamental right should not take away the life of other citizens.  As we have seen that in every national and local bandhs there are some causality takes place and a handful of people die.

Bandhs cost the nation’s economy. During the bandhs, people are expected to stay indoors, resulting shutting of retail and wholesale outlets and hampering country’s economy. Daily wage labourers are the hardest sufferers. To demonstrate their protest, people end up vandalizing public property and transportation.

The decision to call for a bandh is taken by a few people or a section of society, who are not happy with the government’s decision or want their demands to be fulfilled. Because of these few people, the entire country has to suffer, especially who have medical or personal emergencies at that time.

What could be the alternative?

In a diverse country like India, where people of all race, caste, and sex coexist, it is difficult to keep everyone happy under one order. While the decision of banning bandhs will be a sign of relief for few, it might evoke another bandh in the country.

Instead of banning bandhs completely, affected people should try Gandhi’s method to have a peaceful march to demonstrate their anger. Instead of blocking roads and damaging public property and hamper the country’s economy, people should gather at an open public space and use media as an instrument to gain attention.

The policy of banning is never a permanent solution to a problem. To overcome the bandh problem, the government should come up with the measures to regulate it, rather than resort to violent measures to control it.

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