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‘Set up vaccination camp here’: Rakesh Tikait says farmers won’t vacate Delhi protest sites as Covid cases rise

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Rakesh Tikait Farmers protestRakesh Tikait Farmers protestRakesh Tikait also refuted the allegation that farmers violated COVID-19 protocols during a recent Iftar party. (PTI)

Amid a record surge in COVID-19 outbreak across the country, the protest by farmers at the Delhi borders has become a cause of concern for authorities in Delhi and Haryana. While the Haryana government has officially urged the farmers to return home to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the farmers have refused to budge. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait today said that farmers won’t be leaving the Delhi border protest sites.

“This is the farmer’s home now. Where else will we ask them to go? Is Corona spreading from here? We’ve been living here for the last 5 months, it’s our village now…Many farmers took the vaccine but are struggling to get the 2nd dose. We’ve told officers to set up a vaccination camp here,” said Rakesh Tikait.

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Rakesh Tikait also refuted the allegation that farmers violated COVID-19 protocols during a recent Iftar party. Reacting to the viral video, Rakesh Tikait said, “People were sitting at a distance from each other. Gathering of 50 people is permitted by the government. There were 22-35 people. Nobody met with each other, no one shook hands,” he said in contrast to what was seen in the video.

On the other hand, following the appeal by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, farmers and labourers from Punjab have started reaching the Tikri border to join the ongoing agitation.

Meanwhile, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has said that the state government is planning to conduct a COVID-19 test of protesting farmers to ensure their safety. “Officers of the State Health Department to hold a meeting today evening with farmers, sitting in protests at Haryana borders, regarding their COVID-19 testing and vaccination. The Department will begin the work after the farmer leaders agree,” said Anil Vij.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders – Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur – against the three new farm laws which have been put on hold by the Supreme Court. The farmers and the government have failed to reach a solution to end the five-month-long impasse even after eleven rounds of talks.

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