Punjab Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Lakhminder Singh Jakhar resigned from his position on Saturday to show support for the farmers protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws, ANI reported.

Jakhar wrote a letter to Punjab’s principal secretary (home), asking to be considered for premature retirement from service. “I’d like to inform you of my considered decision to stand with my farmer brothers who’re peacefully protesting against farm laws,” he said.

Jakhar added that he was a farmer first and a police officer later, The Indian Express reported. “Whatever position I have got today, it is because my father worked as a farmer in the fields and he made me study,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Hence, I owe my everything to farming.”

The top police officer said that his 81-year-old mother, who looks after farming activities in her village, encouraged him to resign and join the farmers’ protest near Delhi. “I am likely to visit Delhi soon,” he told The Indian Express.

Jakhar was suspended in May over corruption allegations, but was reinstated to his position in October.

The farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s agricultural laws entered its 18th day. They started a tractor march from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border, causing the Delhi-Jaipur highway to shut down.

Also read: Farm laws: Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma award to protest ‘betrayal’ of farmers

Several eminent personalities have also returned their awards over the last few days to register their solidarity with the farmers. On Monday, Punjab agriculturalist Dr Varinder Pal Singh refused to accept an award from the Centre at an event as a gesture of support for the farmers.

Last week, former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India. A group of top sportspersons and coaches from Punjab also said they will return their awards.

Olympic medalist boxer Vijender Singh had said on December 5 that he would return the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour.

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for 18 days against the laws. The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.

The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies.