Congress intentionally raising militancy issue: Sukhbir
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Friday blamed the Congress for "intentionally raising the bogey of militancy" in Punjab ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls.
Badal, the Punjab deputy chief minister, said the issue of revival of militancy in Punjab, raised by the Congress after an attack in London on Lt. Gen (retd) K.S. Brar, who led the 1984 Operation Bluestar to flush out militants from the Golden Temple complex, was an attempt to distract attention from scams.
Talking to reporters in Nawanshahr, 90 km from here, Badal said the Congress had earlier tried to distract the public by giving nod to foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
"The fact is that Gen. Brar is a protectee of the union home ministry and any attack on him reflects failure of the union government to ensure protection of its own protectee," he said.
Badal said the Punjab government was committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the state and would not allow Congress to vitiate the atmosphere.
He said the Congress was raising the militancy issue only before elections.
He said the Punjab government had launched a drive in the past six years against militants and drug mafia.
He said 184 militants had been arrested while five had surrendered due to pressure from the Punjab Police.
Badal took a dig at the Congress-led union government for recommending the release of Kishori Lal, convicted for the death of six Sikhs in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
He said his party would use every available forum to block the release of Kishori Lal and ensure punishment for all accused of the 1984 riots.
A Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman said the move to get Lal released showed the Congress' link with those behind the riots.