SAD president said Amarinder Singh "lied shamelessly" in the name of the great 'Guru Sahiban', taking a "false oath" in the name of Guru Gobind Singh, "only to cheat farmers" on debt waiver and jobs to suicide-hit families. (PTI photo)
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal Thursday reiterated his party’s support for “all constructive measures” taken by the central and the Punjab governments to fight the coronavirus pandemic but said he disapproved of the use of “brute force” against those violating the curfew in the state.
“While I understand the urgency of the matter, the government needed to ensure its implementation through sensitive and persuasive means rather than use of brute force against those violating curfew, especially against the women. It is against our culture. This is totally unacceptable,” Sukhbir said in a statement.
The remarks come a day after people stepped out of their homes in Punjab, defying the curfew and alleging the authorities failed to deliver essential goods at their doorstep. Several videos have surfaced online showing police using force to enforce the curfew and send people indoors.
“There are so many psychological, practical and legal means available to ensure effective enforcement of the curfew regulations. There is no need to humiliate the self-respecting Punjabis who have by and large been cooperating with the government’s measures in this direction,” the former deputy chief minister said.
Stating that a curfew of such long duration can be effective only with the people’s coopeartion, Sukhbir said the government must use the media to spread awareness among people.
“We support the government’s efforts but disagree with the methods being adopted. This must change,” he added.
He, however, appealed to people to cooperate with the administration “in our own interest” and “stay at home and look after the elders and children during this challenging period”.
The SAD president claimed that his inputs “revealed that there was only a limited truth in the government’s claims of maintaining supply of essential commodities”. He appealed to the government to operationalise all channels to ensure that people do not suffer on this account.
The SAD president further said that the poor and especially the daily wage earners are facing extreme hardships. He asked the government to “think of innovative steps” to help the poor, ensure delivery of essential goods and address the concerns of farmers as crop harvesting is to begin next month.
“The farmers are at the end of the season. They are at the tether’s end where their financial needs are concerned and they have to harvest the crop, not only for themselves but also to feed the nation,” he said, demanding immediate financial assistance to farmers which could be adjusted in installments later.
“The food supply chain cannot be allowed to be broken. If that happens, it can have disastrous implications for the country,” said Sukhbir.
He also appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to defer all loans of farmers.