The tragic death of a 14-month old girl child Eknoor Kaur 'Rooth', during the ongoing protest by employment guarantee Scheme (EGS) teachers in the city, has aroused the sentiments of the people here ahead of Lok Sabha elections, which might adversely affect the electoral prospects of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
The tragedy has stirred the emotions of the residents of the city and surrounding areas which was evident from the fact that thousands of people thronged the place outside the inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) where the protesters had gathered along with the body of the girl child kept in a mortuary chamber. The people not only paid tributes to the girl child but also donated generously as a mark of their solidarity with the agitating teachers.
The death of the girl child due to the civil as well as police administration resorting to ruthless tactics to suppress the protest by taking away quilts from them amid the bone-chilling cold has become a major issue in the city.
The tragedy that seems to have gripped the minds of public might have adverse impact on the poll prospects of SAD, at least among the urban voters of Bathinda city. The market near the water tank atop which teachers are registering protest was kept closed on Thursday
while the shopkeepers near the bus stand also downed their shutters.
On Friday, the protesters received support from different sections of people including trade unions, peasant's organisations, student unions, youths organisations and political parties.
Congress leaders, including state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa and senior leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, and radical Sikh leader Baljit Singh Daduwal also came out in support of agitators. Various organisations also expressed their support to the agitating teachers.
Meanwhile, none of the representatives of the district administration or elected representatives of the ruling party preferred to pay a visit to the site of protest, apparently to avoid the wrath of the protesters.
Deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav said that talks were going on with the protesters and he was hopeful of a breakthrough by the evening.