Sukhbir says disagrees with Punjab govt use of 'brute force' to implement curfew

Chandigarh, Mar 26 (PTI) Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal on Thursday reiterated his party's support for all constructive measure taken by the Punjab government to fight the coronavirus pandemic but said he disapproved of the use of 'brute force' against those violating the curfew in the state.

Badal's statement came a day after people stepped out of their homes in the state, 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.

Badal said in a statement that people in the state were not prepared for the sudden curfew.

'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. This is totally unacceptable,' he said.

'There are so many psychological, practical and legal means available to ensure effective enforcement of curfew regulations. There is no need to humiliate the self-respecting Punjabis who have by and large been cooperating with the government's measures,' the former deputy chief minister said.

The government must use the media to spread awareness among people, he said.

'We support the government effort but disagree with its methods. This must change,' he added.

Badal appealed to people to cooperate with the administration 'in our own interest'.

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.

Badal also appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to defer all loans of farmers.

Punjab has recorded 31 coronavirus cases, according to government data. PTI VSD ABH ABH