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‘Govt trying to suppress voice of farmers amidst COVID-19 spike’: Rakesh Tikait insists on carrying on his drama amidst deadly pandemic

Addressing a Kisan maha panchayat in Bhiwani's Prem Nagar village in Haryana, Tikait said on April 29 that farmers would not leave the protest sites at Delhi borders amid a ferocious second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Even as the COVID-19 outbreak in Delhi is surging at an alarming rate, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday asserted that the ‘farmers protests will continue and insisted that his drama at the border will continue despite the sharp uptick in the coronavirus caseloads.

Addressing a Kisan maha panchayat in Bhiwani’s Prem Nagar village in Haryana, Tikait said on April 29 that farmers would not leave the protest sites at Delhi borders amid a ferocious second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Government is trying to suppress the voices of farmers amidst the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are ready to hold talks with the government and the same are expected to be held by November and December. Farmers in Gujarat are the worst affected and if the farmers’ issue won’t be resolved, the BJP government will implement this Gujarat model across the country,” Tikait said.

Tikait also added that donations for Ram Mandir should be used for the construction of a new AIIMS instead. “Instead of giving donations for Ram Mandir, a donation drive should be started to build new AIIMS. The Haryana government has failed to build a medical college in Bhiwani even after remaining in power for the last six years,” he said.

Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni echoed Tikait’s assertions, stating that the protests will continue even if the government imposes Section 144 of CrPC across the country.

‘Farmers’, majorly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting for the last five months against the newly introduced three farm laws. They have squatted on the highways leading to the national capital, demanding the repeal of the three agriculture bills that were passed by the Modi government in September last year.

The three laws are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Earlier, it was reported that the ‘farmers’ protest along the Delhi borders and a number of Kisan rallies, meetings conducted in Punjab may have contributed to the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Delhi and surrounding states. The UK strain of the coronavirus, which is markedly more virulent, is more prevalent in several northern states, including Punjab, the genome sequencing data from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed. Two scientists from central government labs asserted that large gatherings in Punjab were responsible for the widespread transmission of the variant in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The national capital is among the worst-hit city due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, Delhi recorded 395 deaths due to coronavirus, the highest since the pandemic began a year ago, and 24,235 cases with a positivity rate of 32.82 per cent, according to a bulletin issued by the city health department. This was the eighth day in a row that Delhi has recorded over 300 deaths due to Covid-19.

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