The alleged farmers, who until yesterday were protesting against what they think to be draconian agricultural reforms heralded by the Modi government in September last year, have now taken to blocking the vaccination drive against COVID-19 which began across the country on Saturday.
If yesterday’s developments from Haryana’s Kaithal are anything to go by, the protesting farmers pose a grave threat to the Modi government’s ambitions of vaccinating about 30 crore Indians by July this year. Farmers making designated vaccination centres their demonstration sites not only delays the entire process but also threatens the safety of the vaccine doses and the staff handling them.
On Saturday, protesting farmers reached a designated vaccination centre at Kaithal and began agitating against the three farm laws which seek to revolutionise India’s agricultural sector. Members of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni) reached the Jat Shining Star School at Kaithal and did not allow doctors to vaccinate healthcare workers on Saturday. According to the Hindustan Times, farmers reached the venue and demanded that the COVID-19 vaccine should be first given to BJP leaders and top-level officials.
Reportedly, local BJP MLA Leela Ram Gurjar inaugurating the vaccination drive agitated the farmers. “We are not against this vaccination but they should give this vaccine to top officials,” said Hoshiar Singh Gill, BKU (Charuni) District President. Due to the obstinacy of the protestors, the administration was forced to dump the vaccination centre, and shift base to Kaithal Civil hospital, where the inoculation went on smoothly.
Earlier, in West Bengal, a Muslim mob claiming to be protesting against the farm reforms had caught the attention of many while it was trying to block a vaccine delivery truck on National Highway 2. 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.
Such protestors have proven that they can easily compromise the vaccine delivery system of India, and therefore must be taken to task immediately. Finally starting after a long wait, the country’s vaccination campaign cannot be allowed to be hijacked by a bunch of misinformed and motivated protestors. At a time when the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is limited, and demand is astronomically high, the country cannot afford to have its vaccine distribution system compromised by political leaders and motivated agitators.
Meanwhile, the alleged farmers are now showing how they are willing to derail the nation’s vaccination campaign only to hog the limelight and pressurise the Centre into accepting their absurd list of maximalist demands.