At a time when the entire country is getting ready to begin the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19, vaccine-laden trucks in the state of West Bengal are being deliberately blocked by certain protestors to derail the gigantic mission of the Modi government to vaccinate close to 30 crore Indians by July this year.
Protesting against the farm reforms, a Muslim mob has caught the attention of many while it was trying to block a vaccine delivery truck on National Highway 2 in Bengal. The truck carrying the emergency COVID-19 vaccine was forced to take an alternate route in East Burdwan district of West Bengal on Wednesday, due to the presence of protestors who were anything but farmers.
The Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind’s Bengal unit organised the sit-in demonstration at Galsi under the leadership of Bengal minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury of the TMC. The protests, however, soon got out of hand as a sea of them took to blockading the road. The same blockade by individuals who cannot be called farmers by a long shot forced the COVID vaccine-laden truck to detour.
Meanwhile, to save himself the embarrassment, when the leader of the “anti-farm law” protests sought to clear the agitators blocking the path of the vaccines, the mob lashed out at him instead, while gheraoing and harassing the man.
प.बंगाल के मंत्री सिद्दीकुल्लाह चौधरी ने कृषि कानून के ख़िलाफ़ पूर्व बर्दमान के गलसी में विरोध प्रदर्शन किया। इस प्रदर्शन के कारण बहुत देर तक रास्ता जाम होने पर लोगों ने विरोध भी किया, मंत्रीजी हाथ में लकड़ी लेकर लोगों को मारते हुए देखे गए।
इस राजनीतिक पाखंड को क्या समझा जाये❓ pic.twitter.com/SykNF8F1wz
— Kailash Vijayvargiya (@KailashOnline) January 13, 2021
Chowdhury, who can be seen wielding a stick to disperse the obstinate mob, said after the incident, “It is my responsibility. I even announced on stage that no medical vehicle or ambulance should be stopped.” Of course, he added that those blocking the vaccine truck were not his supporters, rather miscreants aiming to create chaos at the event.
Criticising the minister, Bengal BJP leader Shishir Bajoria said, “In the middle of such a pandemic, finally the vaccine has arrived. Our prime minister is trying to deliver the vaccine on a war footing to each state. It is so unfortunate that a state minister is blocking vaccine delivery.”
The very fact that the violent mob was able to block a vaccine carrying truck should send warning bells ringing across the country. If the agitators can block such a truck, what is to stop them from vandalising it too, and destroying all vials of the vaccine being carried by it from one spot to another? At a time when the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is limited, and demand is astronomically high, the country cannot afford to have its vaccine distribution system compromised by political leaders and motivated agitators. Stern action must be taken against the mob in Bengal which tried to block the truck, and a precedent must be set that such theatrics will be met with an iron fist hereon.