Farmers protesting against the three contentious farm laws completed 200 days, but a newer and a bigger challenge confronts them now — saving activists from the onslaught of a second and more severe wave of COVID-19.
Despite the steady increase in active caseload for over a month now, farmers and farm outfits have no plan to vacate the protest sites and are determined to continue on the path of confrontation.
One of the largest farm organisations of Punjab, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), has given a call for farmers to join protests in large numbers on April 21. Haryana farmers have also given an ultimatum of closing down Bahadurgarh toll plaza on April 21.
Any whispers of growing concern regarding the spike in Covid cases are being put out with examples of lakhs being allowed to assemble for the Kumbh, big political rallies in West Bengal and so on.
“We are concerned about the safety of protesters, but we cannot afford to vacate the protest sites without the government repealing the farm laws. If we do at this juncture, we are not sure of being able to get this momentum again yesterday,” said BKU general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan.
The eleventh and the last round of formal talks between the Central government representatives and farmer unions were held on January 22. Since then, there has been little initiative by the Centre to break the logjam.
However, now the farmers are confronted with a new and bigger challenge of saving the activists from the onslaught of the second and more lethal wave of Covid. Though farm organisations say they are determined to continue with the protests, they are concerned. One of the largest farm organisations of Punjab, BKU Ekta Ugrahan, has given a call for farmers to reach protest sites on April 21.