Rajiv Gandhi Bharat Ratna row: Attempts to create communal rift in Punjab will be handled with iron hand, says Amarinder Singh

Fatehgarh Sahib: Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday stressed that his government will not tolerate any attempt to create a rift between communities and will deal with an iron hand if anyone tries to disturb the state’s secular fabric.

In an informal interaction with media persons on the second day of the three-day Shaheedi Jor Mel in Fatehgarh Sahib on Thursday morning, the chief minister said the Sikh religion propagated communal harmony, which nobody would be allowed to disturb. Recalling the supreme sacrifice of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singhji’s youngest sons, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, and his mother, Mata Gujri, the chief minister said the peace for which they laid their lives would be sustained at all costs.

File photo of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. Twitter@capt_amarinder

File photo of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. Twitter@capt_amarinder

While responding to queries on the recent vandalisation of a statue of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the chief minister warned the Akalis against repeating such incidents and pointed out that there were statues of several senior Akali leaders also in various parts of the state. He asserted that his government would protect each and every one of them too, just as it was committed to protecting the statues of senior leaders of other political parties.

Referring to the attempts made by the Akalis to drag the Gandhi family into the 1984 Sikh riots case, the chief minister said Rajiv Gandhi was not even there when the violence erupted. In fact, Sukhbir Singh Badal was studying in the United States and Bikram Singh Majithia was studying somewhere in state or Patiala at the time of the riots and were not even in the know of the developments, which they were now trying to exploit in the name of religion to gain political mileage, he added.

“It was evident that the Akalis were indulging in petty politics and trying to disrupt the harmony between communities,” said the chief minister, adding that he would not allow anyone to indulge in such politics of hate.

In response to another query regarding the Prime Minister’s proposed political rally at Gurdaspur on 3 January, Captain Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was holding such rallies in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. But the state Congress leadership was fully geared to once again wipe out the Akali-BJP alliance from Punjab, he added.

On the issue of the overall development of the historic city of Fatehgarh Sahib, the chief minister announced that a Chowk (roundabout) in the memory of legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur would soon be constructed by the state government.

He asked all invited MLAs to bring to his notice any other requirement for the development of the area.

The Chief Minister, who earlier paid obeisance at the historic Gurdwara and later partook the langar, expressed happiness that no political conference was taking place during the Mel, which was not an occasion for such rallies. “The lakhs of people who had congregated for the Shaheedji Jor Mel had come here not to listen to political speeches but to pay their respects to Guru Gobind Singhji’s martyred sons, whose sacrifice could never be forgotten,” said the chief minister.

Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, located 5 km north of Sirhind where the Sahibzadas were killed on 26 December, 1705, marks the site of their live entombment and is a revered Sikh religious site. The Shaheedi Jor Mel, being held here since time immemorial, is a mark of respect to remember the supreme sacrifice of the sons and mother of the 10th Sikh Guru.

Updated Date: Dec 27, 2018 17:37 PM

Updated: December 27, 2018 — 6:32 pm