Chandigarh: Uttarakhand is India’s state of protests. As per the latest data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the hill state tops the list of agitating states followed by Punjab and Tamil Nadu. In fact, protests have doubled in Uttarakhand over a period of one year.As per the data, in 2016, Uttarakhand registered 22,000 agitations followed by Tamil Nadu (20,500) and Punjab (11,876). In 2015, Uttarakhand had witnessed 10,477 protests.Ironically, most of these protests are organised by government employees followed by political parties. The crowds at these agitations comprise the unemployed, contractual employees, linesmen, ASHA workers, farmers, labourers, and even students.
Protestors are also resorting to new gimmicks to grab eyeballs. A few days back, farmers were denied entry into Chandigarh where they planned a protest outside Captain Amarinder Singh’s official residence. The farmers in turn dumped potatoes on the roads of Mohali demanding remunerative price of their crop. As many as 32 agitations take place every day in Punjab.
The other method that seems to be a favourite with the protestors is climbing water tanks, mobile towers, and even high tension electricity towers.
A senior police functionary said, “Now with the Congress in power for last five months and the Captain as the chief minister, protesters will once again focus on Patiala—his home town. During SAD-BJP regime the protests were mainly at Lambi in Muktsar district, as Lambi was the backyard of the Badals.’’
“The constituency of the CM or his home town is the natural choice for protesters as they can put more pressure on the government and also get instant attention,’’ he said.
The large number of protests has also increased the burden on the administration and police as they have to remain on their toes to avert any untoward incident.
On September 22, all farmers’ organisations began a protest against the faulty policies of successive state and Central governments. Around 3,000 farmers gathered at Mehmadpur grain market in Patiala—the home town of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh—and many more continue to pour in. Intelligence agencies expect around 10,000 farmers at the six-day protest.
Last month witnessed a major agitation by the truckers against the disbanding of truck unions by the government. They called off their month-long protest only after an assurance from the state government that their interests would not be hurt by the move.