Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa return Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan

Published: December 3,2020 05:04 PM

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December 3, 2020: Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic) chief Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa returned their Padma awards.

December 3, 2020: Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said his father and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal has sent a strong message to the union government by returning his Padma Vibhushan award "as a sign of protest" against the government.

In a telephonic interview to ANI, Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "Parkash Singh Badal fought for his whole life for farmers. If you look at the whole country, he is the tallest farmer leader and all his life he struggled for them."

Earlier today, Parkash Singh Badal returned the Padma Vibhushan award "in protest" against the "betrayal of the farmers by the Government of India" and for the "shocking indifference and contempt" with which the government is treating the ongoing peaceful and democratic agitation of the farmers.

"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," said the Akali stalwart in his letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.

Badal wrote that betrayal of the farmers by the government like "bolts from the blue on the already beleaguered peasantry of the country" added that "farmer finds himself waging bitter struggles in severe cold just to secure his fundamental right to live."

In a letter e-mailed to the President today morning, Badal said, "After panthic ideals of peace and communal harmony, farmers have been my second religious passion."

"Everything I have, everything I take pride in, every moment of glory or every office of public service that has been bestowed on me during my long public career has been pure because of my commitment to these ideals in which farmers have remained at the centre of everything," he stated further.

Badal said when he was honoured with Padma Vibhushan, he knew it was only in acknowledgement of his commitment to the people, in which the farmers featured most prominently.

The former Chief Minister described the period after betrayal as "the most painful and embarrassing moment in my long political career. 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."

After Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic) chief and rebel Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa too announced that he would be returning his Padma Bhushan award in solidarity with the farmers who are protesting central farm laws.

Dhindsa was presented the Padma Bhushan by President Ram Nath Kovind in March 2019.

This comes as thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at the borders of Delhi against the recent farm laws passed by the Central government. The farmer leaders and the Centre are engaged in talks to resolve the differences over the laws.