Sukhbir slams Congress for backing secessionists in Punjab
New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said the Congress was playing a “dangerous game” for political gains, and accused the party of encouraging “radical” elements to create disturbances in his state.
Badal, a top leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, also met President Pranab Mukherjee and said the Congress was in league with “secessionist forces” in Punjab and should be declared an “anti-national party”.
“The Congress party is playing a dangerous role. It is encouraging and supporting radical and secessionist activities in the border state,” Badal said, recalling that Punjab had paid very dearly for the same brand of politics in the 1980s when the state was reeling under militancy.
Addressing the media here ahead of his meeting with Mukherjee, Badal also targeted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for turning a blind eye to party leaders extending “overt and covert” support to political leaders engaged in radical politics in Punjab.
He said that under Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress was trying to take Punjab back to its dark days, and sought derecognition of the party.
He slammed the Congress for extending tacit support to the November 10 ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of the Sikh community) at Amritsar organised by political outfits preaching radical politics.
Badal said the “Congress helped to plan the gathering, provided logistic support and was also part of the team which drafted the secessionist resolutions which were read out on the occasion”.
On the recent sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib — the holy book of the Sikhs — which led to widespread disturbances in the state, Badal suspected a conspiracy including the involvement of a foreign hand.
Saying that since it involved an investigation that was beyond the scope of Punjab Police, Badal added the matter has been handed over to the CBI which was probing it.
Asked about Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal seeking the release of 13 convicted Khalistani terrorists lodged in different jails, he said they had sought the release of people who had completed their prison term.
Chief Minister Badal had written to the government of five states and two union territories seeking the release of 13 terrorists, including two serving life terms for assassinating then chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.
However, Sukhbir Badal denied that the chief minister had ever written to any of his counterparts seeking the release of Sikh terrorists.
Sukhbir Badal said they have written to the Centre asking it to block websites and social media sites carrying pro-Khalistani propaganda.
He said the state government has acted against some such websites by blocking them.
After meeting Mukherjee, Badal told reporters: “We apprised the president that the Congress was disturbing peace in Punjab by encouraging secessionist forces which had brought 20 years of disturbance in the state.
“We requested the president to declare the Congress an anti-national party as it was working against the unity of the country,” said Badal, who was accompanied by party leaders.
Badal also accused Rahul Gandhi of “organising” rallies along with secessionist organisations.