Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday criticized the use of force against farmers in Haryana. He termed it “arrogant and power-drunken” response by Haryana’s BJP government.
The Haryana Police used water cannons and lobbed teargas shells to stop protesting farmers from marching towards Kaimla village in Karnal district where Haryana’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to address people and call their attention to the “benefits” of the Centre’s three agriculture laws.
The farmers, however, reached the village and vandalised the venue of the ‘Kisan mahapanchayat’ programme besides damaging the makeshift helipad where Khattar’s copter was to land. The CM did not attend the event.
Badal said the “wanton and brutal repression” by the Manohar Lal Khattar dispensation against “peacefully and democratically” protesting farmers clearly showed the BJP governments at the Centre and states were “full of hatred for the farmers”.
They have “no intention” of resolving the crisis created by the passage of three Acts on the marketing of farmers’ produce, the SAD president said in a statement.
“It is shocking that no effort was made at all by those in power in Haryana to talk to the farmers who were protesting peacefully. Instead, they abused the might of the state to provoke and suppress democratic protests,” said Badal, whose party has broken ties with the NDA after the promulgation of the three Acts.
The police “repression”, including the use of water cannons, showed how “insensitive” the BJP has become to the plight of the farmers, the SAD president said and lauded the farmers’ organisations for leading an “exemplary peaceful, disciplined and democratic movement”.
For over a month several farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are camping at the borders of Delhi to protest the three farms laws, which the NDA claims will reform the Agri sector.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
“The world has not seen a movement like this by beleaguered peasantry for a long time now. I am running out of words to express my admiration for the farmers and the farmer’s organisations for this unprecedented movement. The SAD stands fully with our brave but beleaguered brethren, the farmers,” Badal said.
The Akali leader also came down heavily on the Punjab BJP leaders for their “highly provocative statements and acts” against the agitating farmers. He asked the BJP leaders to refrain from disturbing the hard-earned atmosphere of peace in Punjab.
“The Punjab unit of the BJP is rubbing salt in farmers’ wounds. I fail to understand this party’s overall mindset against the farmers. On one hand, they are inviting farmers for talks while on the other they are provoking them through protests and provocative acts against them,” Badal said.
He asked the BJP to understand that “the whole of Punjab stands solidly behind farmers. People will never forgive those who don’t stand solidly by the country’s annadata (food providers). The BJP is totally isolated.”