Farmer unions in Punjab held demonstrations across the State on Saturday against the continued lockdown restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the Centre and government of failing to manage things arising out of the virus spread.
Thiry-two farmer organisations of Punjab, which are at the forefront of the continued agitation against Centre’s farm laws, also appealed to all or any 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 administered protest marches in several 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 therefore the general public by the State and Union governments. rather than taking strong measures to stop COVID-19 by improving health infrastructure etc., the governments are taking a choice to extend the issues of the general 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 an entire year since the pandemic began, the governments haven’t been ready to make adequate provision of hospitals, beds, doctors, staff, ventilators and oxygen. Even within the current crisis, the Congress government in Punjab, rather than making adequate arrangements, has resorted to imposing restrictions like lockdowns and curfews, increasing the difficulties of shopkeepers, hawkers and labourers,” he said.