New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Former Punjab Chief Minister and senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday decided to return his Padma Vibhushan award to mark his support to the farmer unions and protest the betrayal of the farmers by the government of India by bringing the new farm laws, news agency ANI reported.   

The 92-year-old's decision came amid the massive stir against the three new farm laws enacted by the Centre during the last session of the Parliament. Parkash Singh Badal was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan -- India's second-highest civilian award -- in 2015.  

Badal said the farmers are waging a bitter struggle in the severe cold just to secure their fundamental right to life. “I am who I am because of the people, especially the common farmer. Today when he has lost more than his honour, I see no point in holding on to the Padma Vibhushan honour,” the Shiromani Akali Dal leader said.

“Parkash Badal today returned the Padma Vibhushan award in protest against the betrayal of the farmers by the Government of India and against the shocking indifference and contempt with which the government is treating the ongoing peaceful and democratic agitation of the farmers against the three farm Acts,” a statement from his party stated.

In his letter to the President of India, Parkash Singh Badal wrote, "When the Government of India had brought the ordinances, assurances were given that the farmers’ apprehensions would be addressed to their satisfaction while bringing the relevant Bills and subsequently the Acts. Trusting these assurances, I even appealed to the farmers to believe the Government’s word. But I was shocked when the Government simply went back on its word”.

"I just cannot put in words the pain and emotional stress which I have been going through since then. I have truly begun to wonder why has the Government of the country become so heartless, so cynical and so ungrateful towards the farmers. The spectacle of hundreds of thousands of farmers crying out for justice in one voice in the national capital would have moved any other nation or its government,” he added.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the oldest constituents of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parted ways with the BJP and pulled out of the alliance after the Centre passed the three contentious agricultural marketing laws in September this year. The SAD became the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.

The protest by farmers entered its eighth day, with farmers from different parts of the country pouring in at the borders of Delhi, threatening to block entry to the national capital and take more steps if the Centre fails to meet their demands. Meanwhile, the second round of talks is underway between the farmer union leaders and government to discuss the issues raised by the farmers.

Posted By: Talib Khan