NEW DELHI— Despite unprecedented protests going on in Indian Union especially in Punjab, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind today granted his assent to three anti-farmer bills and one that excludes Punjabi as one of the official languages of Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid the uproar, the Parliament of India had recently passed the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. They were awaiting presidential assent.
The farmers and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) which has quitted BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in centre over these bills, made an appeal to Kovid not to sign these bills that have the potential to destroy the farmers, mandi labourers and the commission agents. However, the President paid no heed towards these appeals.
After these bills have become Acts with the President’s signatures, the unrest in Punjab has deepened as voices of peacefully and democratically agitating farmers have been crushed mercilessly. Now, it is being apprehended that the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab may be vitiated in future over this dictatorial moves of the Indian government. There is harsh outrage among the people in the state and the farmer organizations are planning to intensify the stir.
Reacting over this, an English writer Amandeep Sandhu writes on Facebook, “The supposed conscience keeper of democracy betrays the spirit of the nation”.
The SAD (Badal) President and Ferozepur MP Sukhbir Badal described it as “sad, disappointing and extremely unfortunate”.
He said, “It was really a dark day for the country that the honorable President has refused to act as the nation’s conscience. We were very hopeful that the Honorable president would return these Bills to the Parliament for reconsideration as demanded by SAD and later by some other opposition parties too”. Badal said that his party will chalk out the next course of action after due deliberations.
Prior to parting ways with the saffron party, the Sukhbir’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned as Union Minister of Food Processing Industry in protest against these bills.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government declared that it won’t implement the “anti-farmers” law in the state.
In a statement, Mahrashtra revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat said, “The Bills passed by Parliament are anti-farmers. So we’re opposing it. Maha Vikas Aghadi will also oppose it and not implement it in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena is also with us. We’ll sit together and form a strategy”.