Farmers and their kin have allegedly cut the power supply to a little over 1,500 Reliance Jio mobile towers amid the ongoing protest against the Centre’s farm laws. It has led to widespread communication outage in parts of Punjab. It has come to light that 200 mobile towers are being damaged on a daily basis in the state. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier appealed to the protesting farmers to not indulge in vandalism.
Multiple acts of vandalism and arson, including physical damage of towers and theft of generators, had led to power disruptions in parts of the state. The state police had not taken action against the perpetrators as of Monday. The alleged attacks started last week as protestors vented their anger against the firm owned by billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, who is seen as one of the major beneficiaries of the farm laws. In the last three days, the number of mobile towers damaged has doubled. On December 25, the number of towers damaged was 700 and within three days, the number has increased to 1,504. In some incidents, telecom technicians were allegedly harassed on the job. Farmer union leaders, however, denied any involvement, and said they had categorically asked protestors to avoid resorting to any kind of vandalism. According to the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, Section 25 clear imprisonment of 3 years if you damage telecom equipment.