Senior Congress leaders and legislators today asked the Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan to clarify his stand on the issue of Khalistan. "It is important and in the interest of the good and friendly relationship between India and Canada that Mr Sajjan clarify his stand on this sensitive issue”, they demanded.
The Congress leaders also referred to the Canadian High Commission’s statement on the matter, saying it had tried to hide more than clarifying anything. "It is surprising that the High Commission has preferred to remain quiet on the specific issue that is of serious concern and consequences for the peace loving Punjabis”, they said, adding instead of clarifying the issue, the High Commission has tried to cover it up and put up a vague defence.
The Congress legislators advised the Akali and Aam Aadmi Party leaders not to try to be more loyal than the king by coming to Sajjan’s defence when he had himself preferred not to deny his association with Khalistan sympathizers and supporters.
In a joint statement senior Congress leaders and legislators including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukh Sarkaria and Navtej Cheema reiterated that the Canadian Defence Minister and some of his ministerial and MP colleagues there had known affiliation with anti-India forces.
"Moreover none of them have denied these charges, while leaders like Sukhbir Badal, Sukhpal Khaira and HS Phoolka have gone overboard in defending them for the reasons best known to them”, the Congress leaders pointed out, while questioning the intent and interest of the local leaders defending the Canadian lawmakers. "Or is it because you go there with a begging bowl to collect funds”, they asked Khaira and Phoolka in particular.
The Congress legislators asserted that the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had only reiterated a fact, which Mr Sajjan had not denied himself. "There is no question of insulting a Punjabi or a Sikh in stating a fact about political leanings and inclinations of a particular leader just because he happens to be a Punjabi or a Sikh?” they added.
The leaders strongly supported the Chief Minister’s stand in refusing to meet Mr Sajjan. "We need to draw a clear line as Punjab cannot afford to play with fire which people like Sajjan are stoking and fanning in Canada that has dangerous potential to engulf Punjab and push it back into the dark days”, they said, adding, "this will also send a strong message across to everyone that there cannot be any compromise on safeguarding peace and harmony in Punjab”.