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Defining moment in history, says elderly Badal on farm laws

Chandigarh, Nov 19 (IANS) Five-time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement on withdrawal of three laws as "a defining moment in history" and said it marked a historic day for farmers on the sacred day of Guru Nanak Dev's Prakash Purb.

"This is the greatest event in the history of farmer struggles all over the world. I thank the great Guru Nanak Dev-ji maharaj and congratulate every farmer working hard on his fields," said Badal in a statement here.

Bemoaning that the farmers were not consulted before enacting these laws, the former Chief Minister said, "It was the first time in the history of democratic governments that brazen and cruel laws were made without even taking the stakeholders on board. No government should ever do such an insensitive and cruel thing again."

Reacting to the Prime Minister's announcement, the elderly Badal said this decision will have a implications far beyond the farmers and will have wide-ranging and long-lasting impact on the struggle for justice for the poor and the deprived across the world.

Badal, however, expressed sadness over the loss of precious lives during the struggle.

"My first thoughts go with the families of over 700 farmers who kissed martyrdom on the path of this just and noble struggle. I wish that they were here with us to see this day today," he said.

He said the loss of these 'brave soldiers' and tragic events like Lakhimpur Kheri would always remain a "dark blot" on the face of this government.

Badal asked the Centre and the state governments to stand by the martyrs' families with liberal help in the form of government jobs and financial assistance.

Advising the government to call leaders of farm organisations and political parties to suggest the future steps for farmers' welfare, Badal said that justice for farmers is a cause to which his whole life had remained dedicated.