Ground Zero : If even Punjab Chief Minister feels threatened, none is safe
Chandigarh, December 1: When the person heading the government in the state functioning from behind all types of high walls and making rare public appearances feels threatened, then it can be safely concluded that none is safe under that administration. The state here is Punjab and the man is Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. The leader who has brought his fears on record is none other than state Congress chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar.
Jakhar today expressed “grave concerns over threats from UK-based radical and militant groups to the Punjab Chief Minister as well as senior government and police officials” and “urged the Prime Minister to take up the matter with the British authorities.” He perceives this threat to the Sikh radicals operating from UK and other countries.
It is significant that Jakhar has brought the situation on record within hours of the Punjab government having handed over investigation in the targeted killings during the last about two years to National Investigating Agency.
Earlier in the day, the authorities impounded passport of Harpal Singh Cheema who heads the radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa as he landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport. He had returned from Bangkok where he had gone to attend UN conference on genocide.
The Punjab police had claimed to have cracked these killings and made several arrests including that of UK national Jagtar Singh Jaggi Johal. His arrest has witnessed large scale protests in the countries where Sikhs in settled in numbers and have representation in legislatures of respective countries.
Punjab was rocked by militancy that was rooted in religio-political situation in the state in 1978 when the chief minister was Parkash Singh Badal. The last major incident relating to that period was the assassination of chief minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995 at the main gate of the Punjab civil secretariat by activists of Babbar Khalsa.
It was Beant Singh who is credited by the non-Akali parties with restoration of normalcy in Punjab. Sporadic killings, however, have been continuing. The state witnessed several killings 2015 onwards, beginning with that if RSS second-in-command in Punjab Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) in Jalandhar.
In his statement, Jakhar “urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene and pressurize the UK government to crack down on all such anti-India elements that had been using British soil to unleash anti-Punjab and anti-India propaganda” saying in the absence of any check on their nefarious activities by the UK authorities, these forces had escalated their campaign to disrupt the peace and harmony of Punjab and destabilize India.
He especially referred to the activities by pro-Khalistan and other radical elements. This statement signals his fears of return of militancy that shook not only Punjab but the country as well for more than a decade.
It is for Capt Amarinder Singh to come out with the perception of the situation as it is a very sensitive issue.
He is the leader who has a better understanding of militancy that the normal politicians. Moreover, he used to interact with the players of that time.
This time, it is the elements outside India that are making all the noise.
People in Punjab have only bitter memories.