Parkash Singh Badal Says Repression Would Disfigure Country's Image Abroad
Cautions Governments Against Repression
Congratulates Akali Workers For Reviving Glorious Traditions Of Democratic Resistance To Repression
"In Governor's Shoes, I Would Have Walked Barefoot To Meet Agitators Instead Of Using Violence To Stop Them"
'Sad That Violence Today Was Carried Out By Those For Whom We Fought Against Emergency'
Chandigarh October 1 - Former CM and Cheif patron of SAD, Sardar Parkash SIngh Badal today strongly condemned the repressive use of violent force let loose on peaceful Akali workers, farmers and SAD leaders by the Chandigarh police tonight, and said that the brutal lathi-charge on peaceful protesting Akali workers made this "a painful and dark day for democracy in the country's history."
Mr Badal however thanked and congratulated hundreds of thousands of Akali workers who turned in unprecedented numbers to fight for the cause of farmers."The Akali workers today revived the great memories of the glorious and historic Akali movements. Facing repression is nothing new for Punjabis in general and the Akali workers in particular, most of whom are farmers themselves. "No one knows better than Akali workers how to stand up to brutal authoritarianism like the one that was demonstrated by the Chandigarh police against innocent workers tonight." said Mr Badal.
The former Chief minister had a note of caution and warning for the governments of the day ."If those in power think that this would break the spirit of the peaceful Akali workers, then that means they are sadly mistaken and have learnt nothing from history. Punjabis have fought the worst of form of repression during the Emergency and in 1984. It is sad that some of those who perpetrated violence against peaceful protesters tonight are people for whom we had braved the repression of Mrs Indira Gandhi. It is surprising and most unfortunate to see how soon people forget when they go on the other side of the fence."
Mr Badal said that he saw nothing wrong in the Governor meeting the leaders of the protesters to receive a memorandum of the demands of the farmers. I don't see what was wrong even in his coming over to personally meet the peaceful and democratic protesters. If I was there, I would have walked barefoot all the way to meet them, and everybody knows that."
Mr Badal said that it was a sad day for the image of the country. " This kind of repressive and authoritarian response to peaceful democratic activity disfigures the image of our country abroad."
The senior statesman further said that use of high-handed methods to stop senior leaders like Sardar Balwinder Bhunder Bhunder, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Hira Singh Gabria and others was "extremely shocking."
Mr Badal said that he would appeal to both the Government of India and of Punjab to address the issues of farmers in civilised and democratic way, adopting the consensus approach, as the farmers' is perfectly just."