Patiala police detain protesting Covid warriors, clear highway

Many protesters reportedly receive injures in police action; admitted to hospital

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 4

Patiala police on Saturday detained protesting Covid warriors and cleared the national highway they were blocking here.

Many protesters reportedly received injures in police action. The injured have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital.

Demanding jobs, outsourced Covid warriors were blocking the Chandigarh-Bathinda national highway near Government Rajindra Hospital. The protesters have been staging a sit-in at the highway and paralysing the traffic since Friday morning.

The protesters held a night-long protest at the highway braving cold weather.

Meanwhile, traffic was diverted by the Patiala police.

The protesters, after a meeting with the Director Principal of Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital on Friday afternoon, had for some time allowed partial traffic movement by clearing one side of the road. Later in the evening, the protester, however, again blocked the highway.

The district administration tried to convince the protesters to lift the dharna, but the protesters said they would lift the dharna only after getting their job letters from the government.

The protesters have been on an indefinite protest since October 25 - on the main gate of the Hospital. Medical Education Minister Raj Kumar Verka had to leave in the middle of the scheduled programme during his visit to the hospital on November 26 following massive protests by the outsourced Covid warriors.

The protesters - paramedical staff and nurses - said that they had been given assurances of jobs by the government, but nothing had been done so far.

Jashanpreet Kaur said, “We were hired last year after the Covid pandemic broke out and had been working during both the Covid waves. Once the Covid situation started getting back to normal, the government, on September 30, asked us to go home. The government should immediately give us jobs.”

Meanwhile, the hospital authorities and officials in the medical education department said the files pertaining to their jobs had already been moved to the Finance Department to get the go-ahead.


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