Farmers on Wednesday marched in large numbers from three Punjab borders towards Delhi’s Tikri border despite Covid curbs being in place.
Claiming that the farmers were fighting against Covid-19 and the government, farmers’ leaders said they understood their responsibility during the pandemic, but had no choice but to protest. They appealed to everyone who attended dharnas to be vaccinated. Farmers also reiterated that the dharnas posed no obstruction to the emergency services.
Shingara Singh Mann, president of the BKU (Ugrahan) Bathinda unit and also the union vice president, led a convoy of the Bathinda-Dabwali road along with thousands of farmers.
He said, “I’m 61 years old and I’ve been vaccinated myself. My second dose is due in the second week of May. Corona is undoubtedly a disease, but not as deadly as predicted. However, it is the whole committee of our union that has had the first injection and we will have the second dose next month. Our president had tested positive for Covid last month and we understand our responsibilities. “
The farmer’s leader added: “If the Haryana government organizes any vaccination camp in Bahadurgarh district, we will appeal to our members for their own vaccination. The government put us all at risk after the passing of farm laws in September. Instead of controlling Covid, they forced us to come out on roads. Otherwise, villagers were busy putting thikri pehras in villages to be locked down. ”
Jagseer Singh, BKU (Ugrahan) area committee member from Bathinda, said, “I have also had the first injection and in fact hundreds of us have received the first dose. Whether or not to get vaccinated is a matter for a person. However, we appeal to people coming to dharna because the government has forced us to sit on roads. Therefore, we should at least vaccinate ourselves as we cannot avoid dharnas until our requirements are met. ”
So far, the first dose of the vaccine has been given to Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU (Ugrahan), Joginder Singh Ugrahan, union president, Roop Singh Chhana, vice president of the union and Jhanda Singh Jethuke, senior vice president of the union apart from a few other state committee members.
On Wednesday, Ugrahan led farmers on the Khanauri-Jind highway.
‘Op Shakti to court eviction plans’
Kokrikalan said, “In response to the Union government’s plans of ‘Operation Clean Up’, we organized ‘Operation Shakti’ and went in large numbers to Tikri despite the fact that farmers are busy harvesting these days. In Punjab, our pakka dharnas take place in 40 different places. We also face problems in wheat procurement in Punjab but our batches will continue to go to the Delhi border. ”
Farmers fighting govt and corona: SKM
Responding to some claims that farmers ‘dharnas impede the transportation of oxygen cylinders, Dr Darshan Pal, Samyukta Kisan Morcha coordinator, said, “BJP’s IT cell is constantly campaigning that farmers’ dharnas are hindering the fight against corona. There is some propaganda spread that farmers have stopped oxygen trucks and other essentials on the Delhi border. Farmers are also accused of spreading corona. SKM condemns and opposes all these false narratives. Farmers have never intended to sleep on the streets and stay away from their homes and land. The government has imposed these laws inhumanely on the farmers. Farmers don’t ask for anything new, they only fight to save what they have. In this struggle of existence, they fight against the corona and the government. ”
He added, “The government is running away from its responsibilities at the time of the corona pandemic but ironically it chooses to blame farmers. In fact, on a humanitarian basis, farmers have been more than happy to assist locals and others despite the severe hardship they find themselves in during the ongoing protests. Protesting farmers had kept service roads open for essential services from the time they had to squat at the borders. The barricades installed by the police are the biggest obstacle to the free movement of vehicles. We are appealing to the government to remove the barriers they have set to lock in Delhi, so that ordinary citizens do not face difficulties and emergency medical services can run normally. ”