Chandigarh/Khatkar Kalan, Sep 28 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said his government would approach the Supreme Court against the new farm laws and warned that Pakistan's ISI could exploit farmers' anger in the “entire nation”.
The CM said he did not want Punjab’s farmers and the youth to take up arms but the laws will endanger the border state’s security as the Pakistani agency is always on the lookout for such opportunities.
In an apparent reference to the Khalistani terrorism during the 1980s and early 90s, Singh said Punjab has lost 35,000 lives in senseless violence in the past and with the unrest among the farmers spreading to other states, the “entire nation” would be exposed to the ISI threat.
Singh led a dharna against the recently passed agri-marketing bills at SBS Nagar district’s Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh.
The chief minister, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Harish Rawat and Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar paid tributes there to the freedom fighter on his 113th birth anniversary.
'I have said we will take this matter forward. The President has passed these bills and now we will take this matter to the Supreme Court,' Singh told the gathering at the village.
He said he will consult lawyers to work out the course of action for challenging the “unconstitutional laws” in the Supreme Court.
The matter will be discussed with two advocates who are coming from Delhi on Tuesday, he said.
Meeting reporters in Khatkar Kalan and Chandigarh, the CM said Pakistan's Inter- Services Intelligence could use the farmers' unrest over the new laws to foment trouble in the state.
“The ISI always looks to whom and where it can give guns, bombs and grenades. During the last three and half years of our term, we have arrested around 150 terrorists and seized about 700 weapons,” he said in Bhagat Singh’s village.
'There has been peace in Punjab but when you try to take away someone's food, won't he be angry? He becomes a target of the ISI. That is why I am saying whatever they have done is anti-national,” he said, referring to the BJP-led government at the Centre.
In Chandigarh, he told reporters that the “entire nation” could be exposed to the ISI threat. He added that he will not let anyone disturb the state's peaceful atmosphere, which the new legislation had the potential to do.
Farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the new laws meant to deregulate the sale of their crops, with their unions saying that they will actually lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system.
At Khatkar Kalan, the CM also accused the central government of snatching the rights of the states.
He expressed hope that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would join protests against the new laws.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to the three contentious bills -- the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
This was former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat’s first visit to Punjab after being given the charge of the state at the AICC. PTI CHS VSD SNE ASH ASH