Despite strict COVID protocols being in place due to the resurgence of the pandemic, hundreds and thousands of Shiromani Akali Dal supporters gathered to protest outside Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s residence in Siswan, on the outskirts of Chandigarh, Punjab Tuesday.
Punjab police resorted to using water cannons to disperse the protesting crowd gathered amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. They also detained Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was leading the protest.
In a video shared by news agency ANI, a huge crowd of Akali supporters can be seen gathered outside the CM’s residence flouting social distancing norms. Most are not wearing face masks either. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal is also present at the spot.
#WATCH | Punjab: Security forces use water cannon on the protesting Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders & workers outside the residence of CM Captain Amarinder Singh in Siswan.— ANI (@ANI) June 15, 2021
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal is also present at the spot pic.twitter.com/iTQwBj5FJA
Shiromani Akali Dal supporters had gathered outside the Punjab CM’s house residence with a long list of demands. Firstly, alleging several anomalies in the selling of vaccinations and the procurement of medical supplies for Covid-19 patients midst the pandemic, the protesting Akalis are demanding a CBI investigation into the issue. Secondly, they are demanding the dismissal of the state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu.
State Congress govt profiting from the sufferings of the people of the state: SAD
The opposition party is also demanding that land acquisition for national highways be done at market rates and displacement compensation be offered to the affected landowners.
While launching the protest, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema had lambasted the Congress government in the state for profiting from the sufferings of the people of the state during the pandemic. The vaccine and Fateh kit fraud have shaken the conscience of Punjabis, said Cheema while objurgating the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh for committing so many frauds.
The SAD chief also said that the state government has engaged in various scams from vaccinations to scholarships and farmer lands being acquired.
“If a storm rises, Captain won’t be able to stop it, even if he uses all his force. There is a scam in vaccination, there is a scam in Fateh Kit, there is a scam in schedule castes’ scholarship, farmers’ land is being acquired,” Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said before getting detained.
Congress Government in Punjab accused of ‘vaccine profiteering’
The Congress government in Punjab has been facing flak over allegation of ‘vaccine profiteering’. On June 3, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal first brought the matter to the fore. In a Tweet, Badal alleged that “vaccines procured at Rs 400 per dose (are being) sold to private hospitals for RS 1,060” – a “hefty margin” of Rs 660 per dose.
The Akali Dal leader had questioned Rahul Gandhi, who had batted for free vaccines for all. He asked the Congress leader to answer why a common man is being forced to pay Rs 6,000 to Rs 9,000 for a single vaccine dose for his family in his party ruled state. “He should tell if he supports Punjab govt decision to force ppl to get vaccine doses for Rs 1560”, Tweeted Sukhbir Singh Badal.
For the uninitiated, the Punjab Congress administration has been accused of profiting Rs 660 per dosage by selling government-supplied vaccinations to private clinics in the state under the guise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In addition, because the consumer pays Rs 1,560 for each jab, the private hospital makes a profit of Rs 500 for every injection.
After the big political uproar the Punjab government’s order that attracted allegations of profiteering from “one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals”, was withdrawn. The order for withdrawal of the stock was given on June 4 (Friday).