Farmers protest despite Covid surge

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on May 24, 2021

Farmers stage a protest against the Haryana government in Hisar on Monday after the police booked over 300 of them in connection with a violent clash earlier this month   -  PTI

Organisers ignore Punjab CM’s plea to ‘support fight against pandemic’

Farmers have started gathering in large numbers with the BKU (Ugrahan-Ekta) group organising protests in Patiala The Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has been supportive of the farmers agitation, has issued a warning in the backdrop of the ongoing Covid wave of infections.

On Monday, thousands of farmers reached Hisar in Haryana demanding apology from the State Police for alleged action against protesters on May 16.

Defending their large gathering in the middle of the pandemic, farmers’ organisations said they were not keen on prolonging their agitation either but the Centre’s “intransigence” had left them with no choice.

The Punjab Chief Minister said in a statement that the BKU’s move is “completely unwarranted”, considering the support his government has extended to farmers on the issue of the Centre’s farm laws. “It is time for the farmers now to reciprocate by supporting the State government in the fight against the pandemic,” he said.

BKU chief Joginder Singh Ugrahan, however, said the protests will be held as planned.

Meanwhile, the supporters of Samyukta Kisan Morcha reached Hisar in tractors, cars, jeeps and trucks. “The farmers gathered at the Krantiman Park in Hisar and announced to gherao the Hisar Commissionerate,” the SKM said in a statement.

‘Centre should start talks’

Addressing the protests, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers have no issues in resuming the dialogue on the Centre’s farm reform laws. He said the Centre should take the initiative to hold the next meeting and farmers will attend it.

“The farmers have also been accused of spreading corona. We want to clarify that it is due to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the corona is being spread in the State. If the farmers have gone on strike, they have done so on the arrival of the Chief Minister. If the Chief Minister himself stops the rhetoric and false cases against the farmers and controls Corona properly, then the farmers will not get out on the roads like this,” the SKM charged in a statement.

Published on May 24, 2021

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