Former Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday returned Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in protest against “betrayal of farmers” by the Centre.
In a strongly-worded letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, the former Union minister said that he took the decision in protest against the “shocking indifference and contempt” with which the Centre is treating the “peaceful and democratic agitation” of farmers against the three farm acts.
The letter addressed to the President said, “Today, when even the survival of the farmers – because of whom I am who I am – has lost more than his honour, I see no point in holding on to the Padma Vibhushan honour. I have decided to return this honour in protest against the government’s betrayal of the farmers on the three Acts in question.”
The 92-year-old, who was honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 2015, termed the betrayal of the farmers by the government as “bolts from the blue on the already beleaguered peasantry of the country” adding that ” every farmer finds himself waging bitter struggles in the severe cold just to secure his fundamental right to live.