Former athlete Bagicha Singh has joined the list of other national awardees who have decided to return their honour in protest against the government not listening to the demand of farmers.
Singh, an Arjuna awardee who recently retired as senior manager of Tata Steel sports wing in Jamshedpur, said he was anguished at the plight of farmers in Punjab and that the Narendra Modi government has brought an anti-farmer law which is not going to benefit anyone.
Singh, who retired from service on June 30 this year, lives with his family in Chandigarh.
“The government is helping out the corporates and leaving the farmers to their own fate. I am son of a farmer and am very angry over the new laws which are in utter disregard to the farmers. Farmers in Punjab are not even getting the required price of their produce. I will return my Arjuna award (won in 1987) in protest against the government’s new farm laws,” he said..
Singh, who lived in Jamshedpur for 38 years and was the coach of the Tata Steel Athletics Training Centre, was supposed to join the farmers march to Delhi. “I could not join the march because of back problem. Several other national awardess in Punjab have also decided to return their honour,” he said on phone from Chandigarh.
According to him, the national awardees were stopped by security forces when they went to return the honour to President Ram Nath Kovind. “I would join the group (of national awardees) the next time they go to return their award,” Singh, a fine athlete of his time, added.
The farmers are protesting against the three new farm laws – Farmers’ Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – which came into then effect following the approval of President Ram Nath Kovind.