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Indian home minister’s Sikh militancy remarks draws flak

June 7, 2013 | By

Ludhiana/Chandigarh (June 07, 2013): Indian Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s remarks that Pakistan’s ISI was fanning Sikh militancy in India has drawn intense criticism from various Sikh organizations. It is learnt that various Sikh bodies have slammed the India’s home minister for making such a statement and for resorting to rhetoric to create a fabricated adverse impression against Sikh political activists.

Sushil Kumar Shinde

It may be recalled that while addressing the Chief Ministers’ conference internal security in Delhi, on June 05, 2013 Sushil Kumar Shinde had reportedly said: “Punjab militancy threat growing again. Sikh youths being trained by ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) facilities in Pakistan. Sikh youths in US, Europe are also being motivated in this regard”.

‘It is an annual ritual to issue a statement like this from one or the other quarter of the top echelons of the Union government, and this year, its timing to coincide with the anniversary of Indian army’s attack on Sri Darbar Sahib (Amritsar), should be seen in the context of coming elections in 2014. Shinde has given this statement even as there are no undercurrents of militancy in Punjab’, said S. Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, spokesperson of Dal Khalsa.

S. Kanwarpal Singh said that: ‘Wary of public anger on corruption and other issues the political masters of the country want to make the internal security and militancy as the main plank during the election’.

Akali Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP) acting president Bhai Harpal Singh Cheema said: “[t]he government machinery is trying hard to push out the Sikh nationalists working in the democratic sphere and then use the bogey of militancy to its own advantage”. He said that repeated arrests of ADPP leaders on false charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) shows that the government has decided to close all democratic political space for the Sikh nationalist leadership.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president S. Simranjit Singh Mann said that in order to target the Sikh nation, the Indian government has initiated a false proparanda about the revival of militancy in Punjab.

According to Times of India (TOI): “SGPC member of SAD (Badal) Kiranjot Kaur said while such statements come from the top, they should back it with some evidence otherwise it is just a rhetoric”.

“Apart from political establishment in Delhi the bogey of terrorism suits some people in the security set up also,” she reportedly said.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar said law and order situation in Punjab was normal and there was no imminent threat of any kind.

As per a TOI news report, spokesperson of Switzerland-based NGO Movement Against Atrocities and Repression H. S. Khalsa said that Shinde had made a statement immediately after Nawaz Sharif took over the charge of Pakistan, so it could be a tactics to pressurize Pakistan’s new government”.

It is notable that Pakistan has also ridiculed the statement of India’s home minister. Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry reportedly said: “Pakistan rejects those remarks accusing us and implicating one of our government agencies for fomenting terror in Indian Punjab”.

“Such a statement in our view is uncalled for and regrettable. We feel that making such statement has the potential of undermining the efforts made by both sides to normalise the relations between the two countries”, Chaudhry reportedly said.

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