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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh warns farmers against violating lockdown curbs

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. File   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Farmer unions in Punjab have announced they will stage protests across the State on May 8 against the ongoing lockdown restrictions, even as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warned of strict prosecution in case of violation of restrictions.

As many as 32 farmer organisations of Punjab, which have been at the forefront of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, have appealed to all shopkeepers to open their shops as a mark of protest against the lockdown.

“We will be staging demonstrations across the State on May 8. Also, we have appealed to the shopkeepers to open their shops. We will stand by the shopkeepers to ensure that their shops are not closed by administration,” said Buta Singh Burjgil, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dhakonda).

Mr. Burjgil said the Central government had failed to curb the Coronavirus pandemic. “The governments are imposing a lockdown to hide their failures. On account of this, the lives of farmers, labourers, shopkeepers and common citizens have been affected in a big way. We will come on to the streets and protest against the lockdown,” he said.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh said both the Centre and the State governments had failed in managing the COVID-19 situation. “I have been receiving several phone calls from shopkeepers since morning from different districts, who have expressed desire to open their shops today [May 8]. Governments are known as the caretaker of life and property, but forget the property, the government is not even taking care of the lives of the people,” he said.

Amid the spiralling COVID numbers, Punjab Chief Minister has authorised the Deputy Commissioners to impose harsher restrictions, as needed, within their respective districts, but made it clear that no dilution of the existing curbs would be allowed, except for opening of non-essential shops and private offices on rotation.

He has also directed the Director General of Police to strictly enforce the weekend lockdown in the State and deal stringently with any violations in view of the Kisan Sangharsh Morcha’s anti-lockdown agitation on Saturday.

Asserting that the Kisan Morcha, an amalgamation of 32 kisan unions, could not dictate terms to the State government, Capt. Singh in a statement warned of strict prosecution in case of violation of restrictions. He said if any shops were opened, the owners will be prosecuted.

Chairing a virtual high-level review meeting on Friday, the Chief Minister authorised the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to take any decision on opening of non-essential shops or private officers on rotation, after taking the local MLAs and other stakeholders into confidence.

However, the DCs could not impose any restrictions on inter-district movement, he said, underlining the need to allow free flow of people and goods on the highway network of the State.

“The new curbs, if any, and the opening of shops on rotation will come into effect from Monday,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:12:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-cm-amarinder-singh-warns-farmers-against-violating-lockdown-curbs/article34511733.ece

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