The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has cancelled its three-day programme to mark the beginning of its centenary celebrations in view of the ongoing agitation by farmers, party leader Daljit Singh Cheema said on Monday. The SAD core committee took the decision at a meeting presided by its chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
The party, which pulled out of the ruling coalition at the Centre over the farm laws, demanded that the government repeal the legislations immediately and make statutory provisions for assured government procurement of farm produce at minimum support price. Cheema said thousands of Akali workers have been participating in the ongoing protest at Delhi borders against the three farm laws.
The party felt that the ongoing agitation would suffer if a large-scale, three-day event was held at Anandpur Sahib as planned, he said. "It was accordingly decided to cancel the event altogether and in its place hold a commemorative 'Akhand Path' at Akal Takht on December 12. The 'Path' will culminate on December 14 and will be attended by the top leadership," he said in a statement here.
The SAD, founded in 1920, also extended its wholehearted support to the December 8 'Bharat Bandh' call given by farmer organisations. The party appealed to Punjabis as well as people across the country to show solidarity with the agitating farmers.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.