Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday lashed out at the Haryana government for trying to stop the "Delhi Chalo" march by farmers upset with the centre's new agricultural laws, calling the attempt "Punjab's 26/11".
"Today is Punjab's 26/11. We are witnessing the end of the right to democratic protest. @Akali_Dal condemns the Haryana govt & Centre for choosing to repress the peaceful farmer movement," tweeted Mr Badal whose party broke off an alliance with the ruling BJP over the new laws.
He also tweeted an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
Today PM @narendramodi ji has stopped farmers from proceeding to Delhi in same manner Bhajan Lal stopped Punjabis in 1982 on orders of Gandhi family. This is dictator raj. A second economic blockade imposed on Pb. It seems the powers that be don't consider Pb part of country. 1/5— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) November 26, 2020
Is it forbidden to go to Delhi? The protest is against the central govt. Why is Hry CM @mlkhattar ji using force to stop farmers? Haryana farmers are also aggrieved by the agri laws. Hry CM should have joined the protest which is an ALL INDIA protest against the black laws. 2/5— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) November 26, 2020
I appeal to all Akali workers to take part in the protest wholeheartedly. They should extend all possible help to the agitation. We have also dispatched medical vans & teams to aid farmers besides organising ‘langars'. I appeal to all farmers to unite as one in this fight. 3/5— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) November 26, 2020
I also want to tell PM @narendramodi not to stand on ego & false pride. Any decision which is not acceptable to farmers and has hurt their sentiments should be revoked. We should do our utmost to ensure the future of our 'annadaata' is secure. 5/5#FarmersProtestpic.twitter.com/DvwqWk6J5l— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) November 26, 2020
Thousands of farmers, some armed with sticks and swords, flung barricades into a river, threw bricks at cops and physically pushed vehicles as they were stopped by Haryana on their way to a protest march in Delhi.
After a two-hour clash on a bridge in which tear gas and water cannons were used, the farmers managed to cross the border into Haryana.
Ruled by the BJP, Haryana has been using heavy force to try and block farmers making their way from Punjab towards the capital in tractors and on foot for their two-day "Delhi Chalo" protest march against new farm laws that they fear will reduce their earnings and give more power to large retailers.
"The battle for the rights of Punjab farmers cannot be throttled by using water cannons against them. Our resolve will only strengthen further," Mr Badal said.
His wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned as union minister when the laws were cleared by parliament, also condemned the Haryana government for trying to forcibly stop the farmers, saying it is a "murder of democracy".
"Murder of democracy on #ConstitutionDay! Farmers'' voices stifled, water cannons used on annadata! I appeal to PM @narendramodi ji to direct Hry CM @mlkhattar ji to let our farmers'' march on peacefully to convey their issues to Centre in Delhi. I stand in solidarity with them," she tweeted.