Lukewarm response to farmers’ protest

Only a few traders open their shops on a call given by agitating unions

Lukewarm response to farmers’ protest

Farmers hold a bike rally in Patran on Saturday. Tribune photo: Rajesh Sachar

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 8

Hundreds of farmers, including women, took out protest marches at a few places against the weekend lockdown imposed by the state government in Patiala today.

However, the protest garnered a lukewarm response as not many shopkeepers supported the call for keeping their shops open.

Punjab’s 32 farmer unions, protesting the Central farm laws, had given a call for street protests against the lockdown in the state and urged shopkeepers to defy the restrictions. The protests were taken out in various market places in the city, among other places in the state.

“We are appealing to shopkeepers to open their shops. We are with them,” said farm leaders. “Lockdown is not a solution to deal with the Covid crisis. The government did nothing to improve the health infrastructure,” they alleged.

However, shopkeepers kept their shops shut, barring a few. The police personnel in adequate numbers were present at various places to ensure law and order.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions that is spearheading the agitation against Centre’s three agri-marketing laws, had announced that 32 farmer unions of Punjab today urged people to open their shops and not follow the lockdown.

Like several other states reeling under the Covid surge, Punjab has imposed extensive curbs, in addition to measures such as weekend lockdown and night curfew till May 15.

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