As Bharatiya Kisan Union gears up for more aggressive protests amidst the second wave of the coronavirus, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) not to go ahead with the three-day planned protests in Patiala. Covid cases and deaths are seeing a massive surge in Punjab and there are several reports stating that farmer protests are acting as superspreader events.
However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has outrightly rejected the plea saying not just the Centre but the state is equally responsible for the miseries of farmers and inability to contain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Visibly upset with the unwarranted action of the protesting farmers, Amarinder suggested that after the state offered unwavering support to the farmers, the same should be reciprocated by the BKU “to support the state government in the fight against the pandemic.”
Captain Amarinder stressed on the fact that the farmers’ group should not to act irresponsibly and jeopardise the lives of their people with their reckless behaviour amid the pandemic. He also reminded that there is a complete ban in the state on all gatherings and any violation would be highly detrimental to the interests of Punjab.
On the other hand, the organization’s president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said, “We will hold the protest for sure by adopting the Covid precautions from May 28 to 30. We are more concerned about the health of our own people.”
Patiala’s village declared hotspot
Meanwhile, Patiala’s Dabhlan village with 37 new cases on Saturday has been declared as a Covid hotspot. The number of active cases in the village now stands at 75 with five deaths reported within 30 days.
Dr Sumeet Singh, District Epidemiologist confirmed the same and informed that new positive cases were being detected through a follow-up sampling exercise after the village became a macro-containment zone.
“The village is big and has a large population, therefore, more staff will be deployed for isolation and contact tracing of fresh positive cases,” he added.
Singh also said that several villages in Peri-Urban areas and Passiana, Laut, Ajnauda Kalan, Chotti Rauni, Duladi, and Ghaggar Sarai villages have been severely hit.
Farmers protest sites act as super-spreader
We had reported earlier on how the farmers who are returning from the Delhi border post registering their protest against the Farm laws may be acting as the new super-spreaders in Punjab.
As per a ground report by Dainik Jagran most new cases of coronavirus are emerging from districts that sent the most number of protestors to the site. As many as 900 farmers had traveled from a single district of Punjab to participate in the protest. It is imperative to note that 58% of the deaths reported in Punjab are from Rural areas.
Punjab government fear rise in cases
Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa in an interview to News18 had accepted that the rise in Covid-19 cases in Punjab is in fact linked to the farmer’s protest.
When asked about the rise of new coronavirus cases in rural Punjab and the availability of testing, the Minister revealed that the farmers returning from Singhu and Tikri borders are not getting themselves tested. This is one of the reasons why there is a sudden surge of cases in rural Punjab, he stated.
Opposition parties continue to fan protests
As some states continue to record a surge in Covid-19 cases, as many as twelve opposition parties have decided to extend their support to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on May 26 to mark the completion of six months of protests against the farm laws.
On Sunday, Punjab saw 5094 fresh cases of Covid, taking the state’s tally of active cases to 57,505. The state has seen over 13,000 deaths so far, with 172 deaths reported on Sunday. The total cases so far stated at 5,38,994.