JOGINDER SINGH Ugrahan, 75, is the first farmer union leader to test positive for coronavirus ever since the protest against agri laws started in Punjab. He is president of BKU (Ugrahan), the largest farmer union of Punjab.
Ugrahan, who regularly used to lead dharnas from Tikri border, had been in Punjab since March 12 and had been participating in various protest dharnas. He had been unwell for the past three-four days and got himself admitted to a private hospital in Bathinda where he tested positive.
The farmer leader in a video message said he is fine and will soon join the stir against the farm laws. “I fell sick a few days ago. Then I tested positive for coronavirus. I am fine. I will join you (protesting farmers) in a couple of days. There is no need to worry,” said Ugrahan in a video clip.
Rajdeep Singh Brar, Bathinda ADC (General), said, “Ugrahan got his test done from a private lab outside Bathinda. We got to know about it on Saturday. The health department is working on tracing his primary contacts.”
Shingara Singh Mann, senior vice- president of the union, said, “I am not aware of his Covid report, but was in Punjab since March 12. I am at Tikri border.”
Union’s general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said, “He is responding well to treatment.”
In a message on social media on Saturday afternoon, Kokrikalan said that Ugrahan contracted Covid a few days ago. However, on Friday night, the union, on its Twitter handle, had denied the news about Ugrahan testing positive.
Ugrahan was supposed to go to Delhi on March 23 to observe the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. “He was in Punjab in connection with preparations for that programme,” Shingara said.
On Sunday, a mega youth rally has been planned by Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) at Sunam in connection with the martyrdom day. “Ugrahan was supposed to attend the Sunam rally, but he was not the main speaker,” said Lachhman Singh Sewewala, general secretary of PKMU.
Youngsters are to go in large numbers to Tikri, Kundli and Singhu borders on March 22. Sewewala said, “Sunday’s conference will be dedicated to the contribution of youth leaders in the Independence struggle.”
Protest dharnas are going on in Punjab at more than 100 places.