Strict action against those damaging mobile towers, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh warns

He asserted that he would not allow Punjab to plunge into anarchy at any cost and nobody can be allowed to take law into their hands

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh (File Photo)
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh (File Photo)

Bipin Bhardwaj

Taking serious note of the damage caused to mobile towers operated by Reliance allegedly by farmers and their kin across the state in the last couple of days, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has issued a stern warning to those indulging in such acts. The CM has also directed the police to take strict action against all those resorting to such unlawful activities.

Making it clear that destruction of any private or public property in Punjab will not be tolerated, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was forced to toughen his stance as his repeated appeals to the perpetrators of such acts had been ignored. He asserted that he would not allow Punjab to plunge into anarchy at any cost and nobody can be allowed to take law into their hands.

The Punjab government had not objected to or stopped peaceful protests in the state against the Centre’s farm laws for the past several months, Capt. Amarinder Singh pointed out, and said damage to property and inconvenience to the citizens could not, however, be allowed.

The warning came even as the total number of mobile towers impacted in the state went up to 1561, of which 25 had been physically damaged, allegedly by some farmers and their supporters in violation of the directions of the farmers’ unions to keep protests against the farm laws peaceful.

Calling upon farmers and their supporters to put an immediate stop to such destructive activities, which were being disowned by farmers’ leaders themselves, the Chief Minister said disruption of telecom services could lead to a communications blackout in the state, causing its people, especially students and working professionals, to suffer serious consequences. With examinations, especially Board exams, nearing and students dependent on online education amid the Covid pandemic, such communication breakdown could seriously affect their future, he said.

The Chief Minister said his government had already distributed 1.75 lakh smart phones to class XII students to equip them for the Board exams, but the vandalization of telecom property was hampering the students’ education. He further said that professionals working from home, with many of them having come to Punjab during the pandemic, could lose their jobs due to such acts of violence and damage to property. Even banking services, which were largely dependent on online transactions in these times of crisis, were taking a major hit due to these unlawful acts, the CM added.

The farmers’ agitation had so far been successful and had garnered the support of people from all sections of the society and across the country due to its peaceful nature, said the Chief Minister, warning that use of violence could alienate the protestors from the masses, which would be detrimental to the interests of the farming community. While his government’s sympathies were with the agitating farmers, which was why it had also brought in state amendment Bills in the Vidhan Sabha to negate the Central government’s legislations, nobody could be allowed to take law and order in their hands, warned Capt Amarinder Singh.

Of the 1561 towers affected over the past few days, 146 were impacted since Monday morning due to disruption of power supply to 32 towers, which led to disconnection of services of the remaining 114. So far, 433 towers have been repaired, according to an official spokesperson. The state has a total of 21306 mobile towers spread across its 22 districts.

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