Govt on farmers’ protest: Democratic process must go on, but need to be wary of Covid

New Delhi:The Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday that farmers’ protest must go on as part of a democratic process, but people must be wary of Covid-19 infection and follow the appropriate behaviour.

Farmers are protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament for the last 20 days. Lakhs of farmers have huddled at various border points surrounding the national capital to show their resentment.

When asked about the chances of transmission at these protest sites, V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said at a press conference, “We should take precautions, messages have been sent to them (farmers) from the government. Democratic process must continue, but we should be wary.”

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, who was also present at the press conference, said that law and order authorities can only take a call on the protest and that the Health Ministry or the state health departments have no say in it.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is soon scheduled to hear a plea seeking a direction to authorities to immediately remove the farmers from Delhi borders, asserting that the gatherings might lead to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Despite the Covid-19 situation, the farmers continue to mark their protest relentlessly. They are demanding that the three new farm laws be repealed and have expressed their apprehension that they would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has, however, maintained that the laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of “misleading” the farmers.

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