“Site managers are slapped and abused"
It has been reported that more than 150 Jio Mobile towers were destroyed on December 27, 2020, by protesting farmers as they now vent their anger at Reliance.
The attacks on the towers come after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged protesting farmers not to damage signal transmitting sites.
While Mukesh Ambani’s firm does not procure crops from farmers, the narrative that new farm laws will benefit them has made them easy targets, with protesting farmers from different areas in Punjab vandalising and damaging Reliance Jio towers.
Over 150 towers were damaged on December 27, 2020.
It has been reported that more than 1,300 Jio Mobile towers have been destroyed in total. Farmers have cut power supply to 1,300 out of 9,000 Jio Mobile towers in Punjab.
Farmers believe that the only way to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi to directly talk to them is by affecting Ambani’s business.
Cases of cutting the power supply to the towers have been reported from different parts of Punjab.
One source said: “Site managers are slapped and abused for trying to persuade protestors from damaging sites.”
Another source said the damaged towers belong to Jio, adding that the attacks have impacted telecom services and operators are struggling to maintain services without the help of law enforcement agencies.
Chief Minister Singh had appealed to protesting farmers not to take actions that would cause inconvenience to the general public.
He has continued to exercise the same restraint over the past few months as farmers continued to show their agitation over the new laws.
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Violation of law is totally unacceptable pic.twitter.com/bQW7c27rnD
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) December 28, 2020
A statement read: “Pointing out that telecom connectivity had become even more critical for people amid the Covid pandemic, the Chief Minister urged the farmers to show the same discipline and sense of responsibility which they had been exercising during their protest at the Delhi border, which has completed one month, and also earlier during their agitation in the state.”
Chief Minister Singh also asked farmers not to take the law into their own hands by forcibly shutting down telecom connectivity.
He said that such actions were not in the interest of Punjab and its future.
The statement added: “Forceful disruption of telecom services due to snapping of power supply to mobile towers by farmers in several parts of the state was not only adversely affecting the studies and future prospects of students, who are dependent entirely on online education but also hampering the daily life of people working from home due to the pandemic.”
The chief minister’s appeal came in the wake of a request from the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers.
TAIPA had asked the state government to persuade the farmers to not resort to any unlawful activity in their fight for justice.