85 per cent believe farmers' protest will worsen COVID-19 surge in Delhi: Survey
As the COVID-19 daily caseload in Delhi finally saw a decline following a big festival-related surge since early November, with the number of daily cases dropping from 7,000 to an average of 3,500, the farmers' agitation at the Delhi border might turn out to be the next "superspreader", a survey shows.
With more than 30,00,000 farmers protesting in Delhi, protests are also on the rise in other cities in India. Recent reports say that more than 40 farmers at the Delhi protest site are already showing symptoms of COVID-19, like high fever, cough and exhaustion, and refusing to be checked or admitted to nearby hospitals.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to understand the public opinion about the timing of the farmers' movement in Delhi being a hot spot for COVID-19, as well as what people think of the proposal for a nationwide shutdown on Tuesday.
The survey received more than 17,000 responses from people located in 211 districts of India.
As one of the step to oppose the introduction of the Farmer's Bill, the Farmers' Union called for Bharat Bandh on December 8, with a number of political fronts endorsing their campaign.
Linked to this initiative, one of the questions asked in the survey was, "Do you believe farmers are doing the right thing by calling for an India-wide shutdown, and closure of all roads and toll plazas connecting Delhi on December 8?"
The query received 8,837 answers, with 77 per cent of people suggesting that shutdown is not the best way to get their voices heard. Shutdowns annoy ordinary people in a variety of ways and if we look at the history, causes and political parties have accomplished nothing in the past with such demands for a shutdown.
Reports suggest that a significant section of protesting farmers claim that COVID-19 cannot do much, and that the effect of the new farmer legislation is far worse than what COVID can do. People on the other hand, claim that farmers are completely within their right to protest, but that they are deeply concerned by the rules of social distance, masks and hand hygiene being violated at the protest sites. Another major concern posed by people is that as Covid spreads at the protest site in Delhi, many of the protesting farmers might take him back with them to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the various states of India, leading to another spike there.
With inputs from IANS