The Congress on Saturday said that it will stage a countrywide protest against the incessant hike in fuel prices amid the coronavirus crisis on Monday, June 29. The opposition party has repeatedly criticised the Centre for burdening people with inflated fuel prices amid India’s fight against the escalating health crisis.

“The national-level agitation being organised by the Congress party against the unmindful, insensitive and unprecedented hike in petrol and diesel prices will be massive and will underline the government’s extortionist looting of the common Indian during the Covid-19 crisis,” Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement.

Venugopal alleged that the Centre had been earning huge profits by increasing excise duty on petrol and diesel, even though international crude oil prices were at a record-low. “Rather than passing on the benefits to the low cost of procurement to the people, the government had deliberately kept the price high by increasing excise duty,” Congress said.

The Congress said that it will stage protests in front of central government offices across the country, while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Venugopal added that Congress leaders and workers will submit memorandums to President Ram Nath Kovind and ask him to roll back the increased fuel prices.

Other opposition parties have also been staging protests against rising fuel prices in different states. On Thursday, Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav rode bicycles along with party workers in Patna city to protest the huge increase in the prices of petrol and diesel. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh led a similar protest in Bhopal on Wednesday.

Also read: Diesel crosses Rs 80 a litre in Delhi; Opposition holds cycle protest in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh

The price of diesel in Delhi crossed the Rs 80 per litre-mark for the first time on Thursday after government-run oil companies raised the rates for the 19th consecutive day. The price of petrol was increased after a day’s pause from Rs 79.76 per litre to Rs 79.92 in Delhi. Diesel rate was up from Rs 79.88 to Rs 80.02 a litre.

Fuel rates are increasing incessantly since oil companies resumed their revision of prices on June 7 after an 82-day-long pause. The freeze in prices was imposed in the middle of March after the government increased excise duty on petrol and diesel to shore up finances.