Patiala (Punjab): Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Friday began a three-day protest in Patiala, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's home constituency, over the state government's alleged failure to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
One of the largest farmers' unions in Punjab, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) said only a few protesters will stay at the venue through the night while the rest will join them again the next morning.
A leader of the outfit told reporters here that the government had failed to tackle the situation brought about by the pandemic.
“The people are bearing the brunt because of the government's failure on various fronts. Doctors are not available in several villages. Government hospitals have ventilators, but lack technical staff to run them. Private hospitals are fleecing the patients,” he alleged.
The leader further alleged that the Centre had also failed to deal with the COVID-19 situation and some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were now trying to shift blame on farmers to defame their agitation by accusing them of spreading coronavirus infection.
CM Amarinder Singh had on Sunday urged the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) not to hold their planned sit-in over his government's "failure" to tackle coronavirus, saying their three-day protest may turn into a super-spreader event.
Rejecting the allegation that his government failed to tackle the pandemic, the CM had earlier said they fought hard to prevent Punjab going the way of some other states such as Delhi, Maharashtra and even Uttar Pradesh.
Singh had urged farmers not to act "irresponsibly" and endanger their own lives as their protest may negate the gains made by the state government in the fight against the pandemic, amid a complete ban on all gatherings.
BKU leaders, though, said all COVID-related protocols were being followed during the protest.
Due care was being taken to ensure that everyone wore a mask and sanitised hands at the machines provided at the protest venue, it said.
Farmers Protest at Jewar Toll Plaza
Noida (UP: A group of farmers protesting against the Central farm laws on Friday staged a demonstration at the Jewar toll plaza here, partially disrupting traffic movement on the Yamuna Expressway, according to officials.
The farmers belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) had reached Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar on Thursday with an objective to stage the demonstration as part of their plan to carry out similar protests at some other toll plazas in Western Uttar Pradesh.
According to police officials, some of the protestors, including a local leader of the group, were taken to the Jewar police station around midnight.
“They were brought to the station for a dialogue. We had requested them to call off the protest and vacate the toll plaza but they were reluctant to recede,” SHO, Jewar police station, Umesh Singh, told PTI.
The protestors went back from the police station after some time and carried on with their demonstration that continued on Friday morning also with them occupying two lanes of the Yamuna Expressway, according to officials.
“The Jewar toll plaza is open for vehicular movement. Only two lanes are blocked because of the farmers' protest,” a Traffic Police official said.
After observing 'Black Day' on May 26, the BKU, which has been demanding the repeal of the three new Central farm laws since November 2020, has intensified its protest in parts of Uttar Pradesh since Thursday.
“Members of the farmers union are staging protest at five toll plazas in western Uttar Pradesh. These toll plazas are located in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Meerut, Amroha, Moradabad and Muzaffarnagar,” BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik said.
Supporters of the BKU, led by Rakesh Tikait, have been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-UP border since November 2020 with a demand that the Centre repeal the three contentious farm laws brought in last year. The farmers claim that these laws would hurt their livelihood and leave them at the mercy of corporations.