Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday urged the Centre to handle farmers' agitation with sensitivity and not to upset the farmers as most of the protesters are from Punjab, a border state.
Addressing a press conference Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune, Pawar said, recalled the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and said the country has paid the price for a troubled Punjab in the past.
"The central government should not upset farmers from Punjab, since it is a border state. In the ongoing agitation, the majority of farmers are from Punjab," he said.
"Punjab is a state on the border. If we make the states on the border unstable, then what are the ramification of it, that has been seen once before. The country has paid the price for a troubled Punjab. And, that price has been paid with the assassination of Indira Gandhi (former prime minister)," he added.
The NCP chief's remarks came at a backdrop of the killing of a Dalit farmer at the Singhu border on Friday morning.
On Friday, a body of a man, with hands and legs chopped off, was found hanging on a police barricade at the farmers' protest site near the Singhu border, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Hansraj. An FIR has been registered in the case, said the DSP.
The man has been identified as Lakhbir Singh resident of village Cheema Khurd in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. The deceased, about 35-36 years old, who used to work as a labourer, has no criminal record or affiliation with any political party, informed the police.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the enacted farm laws: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.