Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has written to President Ram Nath Kovind saying that he wishes to return his Padma Vibhushan award.
The move comes in after the former CM decided to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws and in solidarity with farmers who are have been consistently protesting against them.
Badal, now 92 years old, had received the country’s second-highest civilian honour in 2015.
“I write this letter to return 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 Govt is treating the ongoing peaceful and democratic agitation against the Farm Acts,” his letter says.
The former chief minister also brought up rumours and allegations, including by Bharatiya Janata Party, that the protesting farmers are ‘anti-national’ or ‘Khalistani’. “I am deeply pained by the communal insinuations being thrown at the peacefully and democratically protesting farmers. I can assure you that they have secular ethos running in their blood and are the best guarantee for safeguarding the country’s secular, democratic values and character which faces serious challenges from some other quarters.”