JIND: A number of locals in a village in Haryana's Jind district on Wednesday allegedly defied COVID-19 lockdown norms with some of them marching through the streets, and giving various reasons for their act.
Police said lockdown norms were violated for a while in Danoda village of the district, but they persuaded the locals that it was not in anybody's interest to get into such acts that could endanger lives amid the raging pandemic.
The villagers told reporters that they took the decision based on several grounds, including to protest against Sunday's incident in Hisar town, where several people were left injured during a clash as farmers were stopped from marching towards the venue of the COVID hospital inaugurated by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
To protest against the incident, Hisar's Data village also appeared defiant and villagers on Wednesday announced that they will not obey the lockdown restrictions.
The village panchayat held a meeting and decided to extend "non-cooperation" with the authorities and not to allow any health or police teams entry into the village.
The Data villagers condemned the alleged police lathi-charge on farmers in Hisar on Sunday.
Commenting on a COVID isolation centre set up in their village, some villagers alleged that it was serving no purpose and lacked facilities for COVID-19 treatment.
Earlier, villagers of Masudpur in Hisar district had reportedly said they would defy the lockdown as well and keep all the shops open in the village.
Many had said they were upset with the policemen issuing challans to villagers riding bullock carts and going to their fields.
Meanwhile, in Danoda village, after marching through the streets, villagers who were joined by some small shopkeepers held a dharna.
They also blocked the Hisar-Chandigarh road for a while.
Addressing the dharna, many villagers claimed that when the Chief Minister went to inaugurate the COVID hospital in Hisar there was a "big gathering" of people at the venue.
"Why are COVID-related guidelines not enforced at such events?" asked a Danoda villager.
Another villager said when the government gives a plea that COVID cases have increased and imposing lockdown is a must, then the Chief Minister too could have inaugurated the Hisar hospital through virtual mode.
"Why are rules thrust upon us only?" he wondered.
Another villager said the lockdown was causing financial loss to the small shopkeepers in their area.
The villagers asked shopkeepers to open their shops too.
Notably, the ongoing lockdown has been imposed in Haryana since May 3 and is currently enforced in the state as a measure to bring down the spread of the virus after the recent surge in cases.
A police official, who reached the spot where the villagers were holding a dharna, appealed to them not to violate lockdown norms.
He also pointed out to the gathering that only a few amongst them were wearing masks while most were not following social distancing norms.
Later, when contacted, SHO (Sadar-Narwana) Raj Kumar said they persuaded the villagers not to defy the lockdown rules.
"We told them if they continue to do so, we will have to proceed and take action as per law. We made them understand that such acts could not only put their life in danger, but also endanger other people's lives too as the pandemic was still raging," the policeman said.
Kumar said the villagers later agreed and said they would obey the norms.
Haryana on Wednesday reported 153 fresh COVID-19 fatalities, taking its cumulative death toll to 7,076, and 6,818 new cases, pushing the state's infection tally to 7,16,507.
According to the health department's daily bulletin, the latest deaths include 22 from Karnal, 15 from Gurgaon, 14 from Hisar and 10 from Panipat.
Among the districts reporting a big spike in new infections are Gurgaon (1,161), Hisar (565) and Faridabad (435), it showed.
The total number of active cases stands at 70,758, while the count of recoveries has reached 6,38,673.
The state's COVID-19 positivity rate is 8..50 per cent and the recovery rate 8914 per cent, the bulletin showed.