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Stop agitation, Covid is spreading to villages: Manohar Lal Khattar to farmers | India News

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CHANDIGARH: Haryana Prime Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday urged farmers to suspend their protest against farm laws amid the grim Covid-19 situation, claiming their movements to and from Dharna sites were spreading the infection in the villages.
Khattar said farmers can resume their agitation later if they wish, but must stop it from now on.
“If you want to restart these dharnas once the situation is under control, you are free to do so,” Khattar told a digital press conference.
He said that he had asked the farmers’ leaders even a month earlier to suspend their dharnas so that the disease would not spread.
Referring to the movement of farmers to and from the dharna sites, Khattar said: “What is coming to light now is that because of these dharnas, this (infection) has spread.”
“In many villages, hotspots have emerged because their people regularly come and go from dharna sites,” the prime minister added.
Farmers have not only sat in protest near the Singhu and Tikri borders, but also in many other parts of Haryana.
“Their leaders should understand the situation even now. They keep ranting that they will be vaccinated but not tested. If they don’t get tested, it is not known who might have been affected by Covid,” Khattar said.
“They should come forward for testing so that those who test positive can be treated and other necessary steps can be taken accordingly,” he added.
Referring to protests over farmers’ reluctance to be tested for infection, the prime minister said that “everyone should have faith in the health and medical system. If we begin to doubt it, we will show our narrow-mindedness. That is why I appeal to farmers who sit in dharnas “to get tested.”
Earlier, amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, Khattar had almost a month ago urged farmers to withdraw their agitation on “humanitarian grounds.”
He then said that while it is a constitutional right of everyone to protest and the state has no problem with nobody doing it peacefully, the situation due to the increase in Covid cases is cause for concern.
Days after the CM’s appeal last month, Haryana BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni had said that protesting farmers should not be forced to get tested or vaccinated and that if health workers tried to force them, they should not they would allow to enter the places of protest.
Meanwhile, Khattar was also asked to comment on allegations that a West Bengal woman, who died after showing Covid-like symptoms, at a Bahadurgarh hospital, had been raped by two men whom she had reported. escorted to a farmers’ protest site on the Tikri border.
“The police are conducting investigations. Whoever is found guilty in the investigations, strict measures will be taken against them according to the law,” Khattar said.
Haryana police had formed a special investigation team on Sunday to investigate the allegations after the father of the 25-year-old woman filed a police report.
Six people, including two main defendants, have been named in an FIR filed in a complaint by the father of the woman who died on Saturday.

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