Hundreds rally against ‘forced’ vaccination
SHILLONG, Jan 22: Hundreds of people took to the streets on Saturday to protest the alleged forced vaccination undertaken by the state government.
The rally was part of the nationwide protest against forced vaccination by the Awaken India Movement (AIM).
The anti-vaccine rally started from Motphran-Them Bijoy-Secretariat Road and culminated at Khyndai Lad.
During the rally, protestors used loudspeakers to air concern about reports that the unvaccinated may be deprived of rations, prevented from attending funeral services and face other restrictions, amounting to the violation of their fundamental rights.
Leaders took turns at the Khyndailad junction to speak and requested the government not to force people into getting vaccinated on some pretext or the other.
They said the state government was trying to take away their fundamental rights by forcing vaccination, mandatory masking and testing and discriminating based on vaccine status. Since last year, the AIM has been organising demonstrations in urban centres across India to protest the government’s decisions to implement lockdowns, restrictions and vaccinate people to curb the spread of COVID-19. Notably, none of the protestors was wearing a mask, flouting COVID protocols.Vaccination hesitancy has been a big challenge for the state government in the fight against COVID-19. Although not mandatory, the government is stressing vaccination to stop the spread and is trying to reach out to the masses through various campaigns.
A target to achieve 100% vaccination in the state before Christmas was also set, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It remained a target only.
Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma had also urged the church and community leaders to play a proactive role in the current drive to get people to vaccinate.