A day after Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh increased penalties for flouting Covid-19 guidelines, a huge gathering happened in Sangrur’s grain market on Friday. Villagers were protesting over the panchayat land controversy and alleged harassment by micro finance companies to pay back installments.
The dharna was organised by Zamin Prapati Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC), and while releasing their press statement, ZPSC members said thousands of villagers marched towards the residence of Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla to protest.
The dharna was primarily attended by women, the ones sitting in front row were seen covering their faces with dupattas or were wearing masks. However, all of them were sitting close to each other. Mukesh Malaud, president of ZPSC, when contacted, said, “Women in many villages are being harassed by micro finance companies from whom they had taken money on loan, while it has been clearly stated that till August 31, no one should ask for loan installments. Women were also troubled by the finance companies and commission agents, hence they had no choice but to let themselves be heard. Government should see the larger problem rather than just imposing penalties on us.”
Bikar Singh Hathoa, another representative of ZPSC, said, “Our issue of panchayat land of Ghrachon is not being resolved and hence we had to raise our matter. In the name of Covid-19, they are trying to silence us. How should we demand justice?”
They stated that in Ghrachon, village panchayat land was demanded for a 33 year-lease by Dalits but this issue has not been resolved even after 60 days. Later they marched towards the residence of minister Singla, but were stopped midway.
Malaud said, “The Sangrur SP assured us no one will trouble women for loan installments and at the same time our meeting with the minister was arranged for Sunday.”
However, after mediating with the gathering, police later lodged an FIR against them under the Disaster Management Act. Dr Sandeep Garg, SSP Sangrur, said, “FIR has been lodged and due action will be taken against the organisers after investigation.”
Many without masks at function attended by Dhindsa
A political function was organised in Khanna constituency of Ludhiana district. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, president of SAD (Democratic) attended a political function in which many SAD workers joined his party. However, even at this function, social distancing norms were flouted and many were not even wearing masks.
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