Shiromani Akali Dal leaders arrested as farmers protest in Delhi

New Delhi, September 18 (KMS): Indian police arrested Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal as they led a protest march in New Delhi to mark the first anniversary of the passage of three contentious farm laws.

The SAD, which walked out of the ruling coalition at the Centre last year over the farm laws, observed September 17 as Black Day. The protest march was taken out from Gurudwara Rakab Ganj to the Parliament House.

The SAD president tweeted that the protest march not only symbolised the farmers’ dissent but would also be remembered as a historic event that struck at the root of tyranny.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal along with 15 other party leaders were detained at Parliament Street Police Station. According to the police, the leaders were detained for taking out the protest march in violation of COVID-19 guidelines. They were subsequently released.

The protest march led to massive traffic snarls in several parts of the Indian capital.

Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned from the government last year over the farm laws, said in a tweet that the massive participation in the protest march showed the public anger. “Farmers have been protesting at the Delhi border for a year, but the Centre is keen on quashing them. We are proud to have quit the NDA. Akali Dal will continue to resist despotism,” she added.

Alleging that the Delhi Police tried to stop their protest march, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said that it was an undeclared emergency in New Delhi.

A large number of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting for over nine months now at Delhi border points against three farm laws introduced by the Modi regime.