Other States

Punjab farmers protest against lockdown restrictions

Farmers protesting against the ongoing lockdown restrictions in Amritsar on Saturday.  

Farmer unions in Punjab held demonstrations across the State on Saturday against the ongoing lockdown restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the Centre and State government of failing to manage the situation arising out of the virus spread.

Thiry-two farmer organisations of Punjab, which have been at the forefront of the ongoing agitation against Centre’s farm laws, also appealed to all shopkeepers to open their shops as a mark of protest against the lockdown. However, in most parts of the State, the shops were closed after the government’s announcement about the weekend lockdown.

Several groups of farmers defying lockdown restrictions carried out protest marches in different districts of the State including Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Moga, Barnala, Faridkot, Muktsar, Fazilka, Ferozpur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, and Moga.

“Our protest was against strict restrictions imposed on shopkeepers and the general public by the State and Union governments. Instead of taking strong measures to prevent COVID-19 by improving health infrastructure etc., the governments are taking a decision to increase the problems of the public. Today, we staged protests in 87 cities and towns of Punjab,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), on Saturday.

“Despite the passage of a whole year since the pandemic began, the governments have not been able to make adequate provision of hospitals, beds, doctors, staff, ventilators and oxygen. Even in the current crisis, the Congress government in Punjab, instead of making adequate arrangements, has resorted to imposing restrictions like lockdowns and curfews, increasing the difficulties of shopkeepers, hawkers and labourers,” he said.

‘Lockdown no answer’

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh said both the Central and State governments have failed in managing the COVID-19 situation. “The governments are imposing lockdown to hide their failures. Lockdowns have adversely impacted the lives of farmers, labourers, shopkeepers and other people. Today’s protest meant to convey a message that lockdown is not an answer. Governments are known as the caretaker of life and property. Forget property, they are not even taking care of the lives of the people,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 2:17:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-farmers-protest-against-lockdown-restrictions/article34517644.ece

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