Hundreds of farmers defy Covid curbs in Amritsar, head for Delhi to protest
Defying the Covid-19 protocol and lockdown in Punjab, hundreds of supporters of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, including women and the elderly, gathered at Beas town in Amritsar district on Wednesday before heading for Delhi’s Singhu border to intensify the agitation against the three farm laws.
They left in dozens of tractor-trailers, cars and tempo-travellers from the bridge over the Beas river on the Amritsar-Delhi national highway without any check by the police.
More than 30 people were seen huddled together in some trailers.
Before embarking on the journey, the supporters gathered to raise slogans against the Centre and a few corporate houses. The protesters are expected to reach the national capital on Thursday.
In hotspot, Amritsar district administration evasive
Asked why no action was taken against them despite the Covid curbs, deputy commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira said he will seek a report from the Amritsar (rural) senior superintendent of police (SSP) Dhruv Dahiya. “Whatever legal action is there, it will be discussed with the SSP,” he said.
Amritsar is one of the Covid-19 hotspot districts of Punjab with more than 5,000 active cases and 1,014 deaths. A total of 674 positive cases were reported from the district on Tuesday.
Forced to protest as demands haven’t been met: Farmer leader
The KMSC leaders had been holding meetings in villages over the past week to mobilise support for the march.
Asked why the organisation was holding a march when the nation was in the grip of the second Covid-19 wave, KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said, “If any harm comes to farmers due to coronavirus, only the Centre will be responsible. We have been forced to remain on the roads because the Centre is not accepting our demands. We will go home immediately if our demands are met.”
He wrote on social media on Tuesday that “the Centre is trying to sabotage our movement. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is helping the Centre indirectly.”
Another such march of the KMSC is scheduled to depart from Tarn Taran on May 20.