By Brajendra Nath Singh
New Delhi: Congress parliamentarian from Ludhiana, Ravneet Singh Bittu, said on Monday that the terrorist attack in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district was an attempt to revive the Khalistan movement in the state and urged the Punjab and central governments to immediately take necessary steps to stop it.
“The terrorist attack in Gurdaspur is a very serious threat to the nation. Since the last few months, there have been attempts to revive the Khalistan movement but the state and central agencies were continuously ignoring it. After this attack, both the Centre and state governments should act tough against such elements,” Bittu told IANS.
He said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, Khalistani and other terrorist groups have joined hands in support of the Khalistan movement.
“Yesterday (Sunday), pro-Khalistan slogans were raised in front of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. For the last few months, these activities have increased but were not dealt with properly by both the governments,” he added.
Bittu said that the “wrong policies” of the state and central governments gave an opportunity to Khalistan supporters to revive their movement.
“The central government is shifting terrorists lodged in different parts of the country to Punjab. There was no need for it. Why are terrorists from Bengaluru and Bareilly being shifted to Punjab jails,” asked Bittu.
The Congress leader also accused the Badal government in Punjab of “adopting soft approach” towards Surat Singh Khalsa, who is on a hunger strike since January this year to seek permanent release of Sikh political prisoners.
He said that bowing to the demands of Surat Singh, the Punjab government had released many political prisoners and this mistake of the government had boosted the morale of Khalistan supporters.
He demanded that the Punjab government immediately end its soft approach towards Surat Singh Khalsa and try to end his hunger strike.
Bittu said that he will soon meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and present the related facts to him. He also said that he will request the home minister to visit Punjab to take stock of the rising activities of the Khalistan supporters.
The Congress parliamentarian said that it was wrong to link the terrorist attack in Gurdaspur to the Mumbai serial blast convict Yakub Memon’s impending hanging.
“It will be a mistake to link the Gurdaspur terror attack to Memon. I am from Punjab and I know what is going on there. If the government doesn’t learn lessons from this attack, the situation in Punjab is going to become worse,” he said.
He said Punjab needed to be more alert and vigilant. “We have seen the darkest decade not long ago and lost thousands of precious lives and we cannot afford that again,” he warned.