Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta
Last Updated: February 28, 2023, 17:21 IST
Majithia lashed out at the Punjab administration for the lack of action against Amritpal. (File pic: News18)
The Shiromani Akali Dal leader told News18 that if the state government fails to control the law and order situation, the Centre must step in
There is a “fixed match” being played out between Khalistani separatist Amritpal Singh and Punjab police, feels Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia. In an exclusive conversation with CNN-News18, the former state minister expressed his fears about the ongoing tumult in Punjab and lashed out at the administration for the lack of action against Amritpal.
“First you have to realise that if you go back in history, those dark days of terrorism, there’s never been an incident where a police station has been taken over by people who have broken the law. It has never been the case. If news like that comes out of Kashmir, there is such a hue and cry. Obviously, all is not well in the state. Now for a DGP to say that we didn’t do this because there were certain reasons, my first question is if there was a fixed match. For the last five days, he’s been threatening that he will go to Ajnala thana, so where were the police? Was the DGP sleeping or was he held back by his rulers that he didn’t take action?” he asked.
The government came out with a directive that anyone seen with a weapon on social media platforms or anyone firing from their legal weapon will be booked, Majithia pointed out. “There was a little boy from my constituency in Majithia whose ten-year-old photographs were taken out and he was booked. This boy was booked for holding his weapon. My question to the DGP is, how is a person moving around with a weapon? That also a permissible cartridge per weapon is 25, they are roaming with 300-400 cartridges on them and they are talking to the SSP with guns pointed towards the police chief of the district. Isn’t this state managed? Isn’t this a fixed match? Isn’t this to divert attention?” the SAD leader asked.
Punjab has a long history of being a border state and having border security issues, and chief minister Bhagwant Mann himself has said that Pakistan is fomenting terrorism, Majithia stated. “In such a situation, do you want another Hindu-Sikh issue coming out of Punjab? There has been a rocket launcher attack on the police. There have been riots in Patiala. There’s been the murder of Sidhu Moose Wala. As I speak, there have been three murders today. These gangsters are claiming that they have done it. How can you let all this happen in Punjab?” he said.
Majithia also rubbished comparisons between Amritpal Singh and Sikh secessionist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
“If people can be booked on the display of weapons, someone carrying 20 weapons, that too semi-automatic…who gave him the licence in the first place? How’s he carrying those all over Punjab? I want an inquiry into that. How is it allowed? Have you ever heard…Isn’t this a constitutional crisis, that a police station is taken over…He tries to copy Jarnail Singh, but he’s not him. He’s a duplicate. He is a farce. He’s created. There are reasons for it. This is a total collapse. He travelled 60 km, but the police did nothing. Were they sleeping? There are more than 15 police stations all over and still he was given a free run. Why wouldn’t I say this was a fixed match?” he said.
Majithia also alleged that the Waris Punjab De founder has been propped up. “I disagree with the statement that he is popular. Yes, there is a section in Punjab that feels that they have been wronged on a number of issues, right from the state capital to river water issues to farm laws, there are a number of issues. Let’s leave that aside…A clean-shaven man becomes a baptised one, there are photographs available of him enjoying, clubbing, and partying. Then he uses the Guru Granth Sahib…you must realise, it’s the living Guru for us. Guru is respected and revered with folded hands and humility. Two kids were fighting, then the case was registered. First, you investigate the matter. Do you use the Guru Granth Sahib for such fighting? You’ll not. You cannot go bashing up barricades and hitting people who are unarmed. This man doesn’t understand Sikhism. Sikhs are all about humility and love and compassion,” he said.
Who gains from the polarisation in Punjab, asked the Akali Dal leader.
“A lot of people are gunning for me. If there is polarisation in Punjab, who will benefit? You’ll know yourself. Bhagwant Mann…he doesn’t realise that he’s playing with fire or eventually all this will result in troubled days for Punjab. This isn’t going to end well. How can a man who wasn’t even an Indian citizen, who was baptised, today come here and be funded…All his family had was a few acres of land. Today he roams around in cars of 2 crore rupees. How is everyone turning a blind eye to it? I question all governments because it pains me and I don’t want a return to those dark days.
Majithia also said that if the state government fails to control the law and order situation, the Centre must step in.
“The governments are responsible. Both governments are responsible. Maintaining peace and law and order is the primary responsibility of the government, but if the state government is not doing its job, then I guess the central government also needs to step in. But they want AAP to get discredited and then polarisation will happen,” he said. “A lot of politics will happen and it will all affect the state and its people. Do you realise, there were 45 per cent hotel bookings cancelled and that affects a lot of lives? If religious tourism was doing well, you got that in the head…You’ve ensured that it goes for a toss. It pains me and that is why I am speaking and I know that people will send a bullet to my head also.”
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