Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has assailed what he described as the misleading propaganda of political and religious outfits against his stand on fundamentalism and radicalism, as manifested in his decision not to meet the Canadian defence minister during the latter’s forthcoming visit to India.
The reactions showed that these outfits, including the SGPC, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), were completely lacking in national pride, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder asserted that the state government was regularly tracking and monitoring the activities of Khalistani sympathizers and others having any kind of links to extremist forces inimical to India. Our assessments and decisions are based on these reports, he said, reiterated that while he was ready to provide security and protocol treatment to Harjit Singh Sajjan, during his proposed visit to India later this month, there was no question of meeting the Canadian minister.
Captain Amarinder made it clear that the security and protocol treatment to be provided to Sajjan, when he visits Punjab, would be at par with what would be accorded to the Indian defence minister on a visit to Canada. It will be neither more nor less, while keeping in view the threat perceptions against Sajjan.
Captain Amarinder came down heavily on the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) for their criticism of his stance, saying the religious body, which claims to protect the interests of Sikhs and the ethos of Sikhism, seemed to have forgotten the treatment meted out to its leaders by hardliners in Canada. Do they have no sense of pride, he asked, adding that those opposing his principled stand on the issue were encouraging Khalistani sympathizers, thus fanning the possibility of the revival of Sikh extremism.
Countering SAD leader Sukhbir Badal’s statement dubbing him as ‘anti-Sikh’, the Chief Minister said the former deputy chief minister was trying to mislead the people by spreading false propaganda. Captain pointed out that he had not expressed antagonism towards all Sikhs settled in Canada but only towards a miniscule population which is sympathetic to the Khalistani cause. He had always been proud of the achievements of Sikhs settled abroad and held them in high esteem.