The central government is treating farmers as "enemy of the State", SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal alleged today, condemning the use of force to stop them from marching towards Delhi in protest against the Centre's farm laws.
Ms Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet in September in protest against three farm sector bills, which later got the President's assent after being passed by Parliament. She was the Union minister for food processing industries.
The Centre should not adopt a policy of confrontation with farmers. It should instead talk with them and resolve their grievances, Ms Badal said.
"Using force against farmers on Constitution Day has turned the day a 'black day' for 'annadattas' of the country," the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader said.
"The BJP-led central government is treating farmers as an enemy of the State. We witnessed the same treatment when Punjabis were stopped from going to Delhi during the Asiad Games. Such repressive tactics can have very dangerous repercussions as we have seen in the past," Ms Badal said.
Ms Badal's remarks come after tension spiralled at the Shambhu interstate border on Thursday as the Haryana police used water cannons and teargas to disperse hundreds of farmers from Punjab who broke barricades, throwing some into the river, determined to enter the state as part of their "Delhi Chalo" march against the farm laws.
"Farmers' voices stifled, water cannons used on annnadata!" she tweeted and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to let farmers march on peacefully to convey their issues to the Centre in Delhi.
Ms Badal said she is shocked and pained with the way in which farmers are being treated.
Days after Ms Badal's resignation, her party also moved out of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm laws issue.
SAD was one of the founding partners of the NDA and had a long association with the BJP from its precursor, Jan Sangh days.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)