Chandigarh: Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma Vibhushan to protest “betrayal of farmers” by the government.
Parakash was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, second-highest civilian award, in 2015.
He termed the decision ‘a betrayal of farmers by the government’.
“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.
He further said that the farmers are waging a bitter struggle in the severe cold just to secure their fundamental right to life.
Shiromani Akali Dal, in a statement, 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.”
It had earlier quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in protest of the contentious farm bills.
“The decision to quit the NDA was taken because of the Centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP,” SAD Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had said in a statement.
Former hockey captain to return Padma Shri
Former hockey captain and two-time Olympian Pargat Singh has also decided to return the Padma Shri which was awarded to him in 1998.
Pragat, who is now a Congress member will join former athletes in returning their prestigious awards to the government to show support for protesting farmers.
Arjuna awardees Sajjan Singh Cheema and Rajbir Kaur, Padma Shree awardee Kartar Singh, Olympic medallist Gurmail Singh and former cricket coach Rajinder Singh have also decided to return their awards back to the Union Government.