Farmers in India have vowed to continue their street protests against new agriculture laws
despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
India has emerged as the world’s worst-hit country since early April, with its already stretched healthcare facilities pushed to breaking point.
Large gatherings in the country, along with the lax enforcement of the Covid regulations, have been blamed for the increase in cases.
The farmers claim the new agriculture laws – which have sparked months of protest and unrest – threaten their livelihoods.
Farmers from Punjab, Hary-ana and Uttar Pradesh states
in the north and the desert state of Rajasthan have camp-
ed on major national high-
ways for more than four months.
And they are determined to continue with their around-the-clock sit-ins despite the sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
Farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait said the Indian government had attempted to persuade the farmers to abandon their street protest sites due to the rising virus infections.
“We have religiously followed coronavirus guidelines, and we have drawn up plans to stay put until at least November and December, or even beyond that if the government doesn’t listen to us by then,” he said.
Agriculture & Farmers Wel-
fare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar pleaded with the protesting farmers to call off their demonstrations at three major sites close to Delhi due to the infection risk.
In response, the protestors said the government should have led by example – and not held huge political rallies in the lead up to the recent state assembly elections.
“If the government is keen to ensure that the agitation ends, it should concede our demands.
“That will be a sure-shot way to end the protest,” said Dharmendra Malik, a farm leader from Uttar Pradesh.