BKU-Ekta Ugrahan begins three-day protest against Punjab government's handling of COVID-19

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Patiala (Pb), May 28 (PTI) Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Friday began a three-day protest in Patiala, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's home constituency, over the state government's alleged failure to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

One of the largest farmers' unions in Punjab, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) said only a few protesters will stay at the venue through the night while the rest will join them again the next morning.

A leader of the outfit told reporters here that the government had failed to tackle the situation brought about by the pandemic.

“The people are bearing the brunt because of the government's failure on various fronts. Doctors are not available in several villages. Government hospitals have ventilators, but lack technical staff to run them. Private hospitals are fleecing the patients,” he alleged.

He further alleged that the Centre had also failed to deal with the COVID-19 situation and some BJP leaders were now trying to shift blame on farmers to defame their agitation by accusing them of spreading coronavirus infection.

CM Amarinder Singh had on Sunday urged the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) not to hold their planned sit-in over his government's 'failure' to tackle coronavirus, saying their three-day protest may turn into a super-spreader event.

Rejecting the allegation that his government failed to tackle the pandemic, the CM had earlier said they fought hard to prevent Punjab going the way of some other states such as Delhi, Maharashtra and even Uttar Pradesh.

Singh had urged farmers not to act 'irresponsibly' and endanger their own lives as their protest may negate the gains made by the state government in the fight against the pandemic, amid a complete ban on all gatherings.

Such a dharna will draw people mainly from villages, which are in any case going through a crisis during the second wave of the pandemic, he had said.

There is no scope for any laxity in COVID-appropriate behaviour and dharnas of any kind are totally unacceptable when the lives are at stake, the CM had said.

BKU leaders, though, said all COVID-related protocols were being followed during the protest.

Due care was being taken to ensure that everyone wore a mask and sanitised hands at the machines provided at the protest venue. PTI SUN VSD HDA

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