REACTING to INLD leadership’s open defiance of the law and intelligence reports indicating terror revival threat over the SYL issue, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has demanded deployment of the armed forces to prevent any untoward incident on February 23, when Chautala’s party plans to force its way into Punjab to dig the controversial canal.
Pointing out that he himself had been repeatedly warning that the SYL issue had the potential to trigger the revival of terrorism in Punjab, Captain Amarinder said the intelligence reports endorsing his apprehensions necessitated a strong crackdown on INLD and its leaders before the situation goes out of hand.
He demanded preventive arrest of INLD leader Abhay Chautala and cancellation of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s parole to control the situation, which had escalated to dangerous proportions. Abhay’s adamant stand on the issue, and his defiant threat to go ahead with the SYL incursion even if the Army is called in, is ground enough for his preventive detention, said Captain Amarinder.
The central government should also immediately step in to order large-scale deployment of the armed forces ahead of the threatened move by the INLD, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that Abhay Chautala’s defiant and provocative statements on the issue could have a long-term, explosive impact on Punjab’s peace.
Being a sensitive border state, Punjab could not be left to its own devices to handle the current volatile situation, particularly in the light of the fact that the state was in post-poll limbo, still awaiting the outcome of the assembly elections with no government worth the name at the helm to protect its interests, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president in a statement issued here. With the ruling Badals having abdicated their responsibility in the face of their imminent defeat, the central government’s intervention had become imperative to maintain law and order in Punjab, he added.
The Punjab Congress chief ministerial candidate called upon the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to intercede, without further delay, to prevent further vitiation of Punjab’s troubled environment, which remained fragile through the run-up to the polls, and which witnessed a terrorist-triggered bomb blast just a few days before voting took place.
Punjab is sitting on a virtual landmine, with intelligence reports suggesting that many of the sleeping terror cells were getting ready to raise their heads again, pointed out Captain Amarinder, warning that these militant organizations would exploit the fragile situation on the ground to further their anti-India agenda if not checked immediately.
Expressing concern over reports of digging of holes by suspected INLD workers in Ambala, from where the party plans to move into Punjab, Captain Amarinder said it was evident that the Haryana government was not serious about nipping the threat in the bud. Only the deployment of armed forces, with preventive action against the INLD leadership, could foil any attempt to violate Punjab’s borders, he added.
Warning the Centre against inaction in the matter, Captain Amarinder said the consequences of failure to take preventive action would not only plunge Punjab back into the dark days of terrorism but would also have dangerous repercussions for the nation, which has been grappling with militancy from across the border for the past several decades.
Punjab has lost thousands of innocent lives to terrorism, pointed out Captain Amarinder, warning that the dangerous consequences of revival of militancy in any form would be unimaginable.