Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur were detained on Friday while they were protesting against the three agricultural laws in Delhi, The Indian Express reported.
The police also detained 12 more leaders from the party, according to NDTV.
The party planned to lead a farmers’ march from Gurudwara Sri Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi to Parliament House on Friday to mark one year of the agitation against the contentious laws.
“We have come here to give a message to PM [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi that not only Punjab but entire country is against his government,” Sukhbir Badal said before his detention, according to ANI.
Badal alleged that his party workers were baton-charged. “Modi government and Haryana stopped our workers,” he added. “A peaceful protest was stopped.”
Earlier in the day, the Shiromani Akali Dal claimed that the Delhi Police had sealed all the city’s border points and were stopping vehicles from Punjab.
The party added that while Punjabis were being told that their entry was restricted, others were being allowed to pass. “Our peaceful voices have seemingly scared the powers that be,” the party said in a tweet.
The march on Friday is part of widespread protests by farmers that have been going on since November. The agitators have sought the withdrawal of the farm laws passed in September 2020.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Friday said that she has been receiving phone calls of people telling her that the police were trying to foil the march to Parliament.
“It’s an undeclared EMERGENCY!,” she tweeted.
The Delhi Traffic Police said that roads leading to the Jharoda Kalan border point have been barricaded, and advised commuters to avoid the route.
The traffic police also advised commuters to avoid Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road, the areas near RML Hospital, General Post Office, Ashoka Road and Baba Khadak Singh Marg, saying that the roads will be crowded due to the farmers’ protest.
“The road from Sardar Patel Marg to Dhaula Kuan has been closed for traffic on account of the farmers’ protest. Please avoid this route,” the traffic police further said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said that entry and exit points of two Delhi Metro stations near the Tikri border with Haryana – Pandit Shree Ram Sharma and Bahadurgarh City – have been closed.
On September 26, 2020, the Akali Dal pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in protest against the farm laws. Badal had resigned as Cabinet minister on September 18, 2020.
Party president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the party quit the NDA because of the Centre’s “stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on minimum support price and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues”.
The protests against the farm laws have been particularly fierce in Punjab. All major political parties in the state barring the BJP have backed the agitators.
While the Central government claims the laws would free up India’s troubled agricultural sector by giving farmers more choice of buyers for their produce, farmer groups say the laws are a ploy to corporatise the sector and would lead to crony capitalism.