Breaking his silence on the London attack on the Operation Bluestar commander Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar ( retd.) on Sunday allegedly by Khalistani extremists, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday termed it as “a routine terrorist act” but refrained from condemning the incident forthrightly.
Badal, who has been keeping mum on the audacious assassination bid on Lt Gen Brar for last three days, sought to downplay the episode, insisting “it has nothing to do with the reports of revival of terrorism in Punjab.” In saying so, chief minister apparently disagreed with the assessment of his own top police brass who view the London attack as a wake-up call for Punjab.
“If any terrorist act has occurred outside the country, how it can be related to return of terrorism in Punjab? “ he wondered while facing a barrage of questions from mediapersons. To buttress his point, Badal quoted the Wisconsin gurdwara shoot-out incident two months ago. “If that attack happened in the US, that doesn’t mean that the terrorist activities in America has revived?”.
Badal was in bassi Pathana to lay the foundation stone of a bus stand of Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation.
To a pointed question whether he condemned the London attack, Badal evaded a direct response and instead couched it generic terms.” Jo bi koi galat kam karda hai, main kise de naal bhi nahi. (Whosoever do the wrong, I am against them all)” he said, asserting that he had always worked for the harmony in the state and would not allow anyone to destroy the peace.”
Asked about Intelligence Bureau chief Nehchal Singh Sandhu’s latest assessment that Punjab was on the radar of militants again, Badal said such apprehension was “a mere statement." “If it was really so, the Centre should have shown seriousness and come forward to fund the state in order to strengthen its police and intelligence network” he said, adding: “Mere statements won’t do."
Badal didn’t forget to take a dig at the Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh who has said that erection of the Operation Bluestar memorial in Harmandar Saheb has provided strength to the Khalistani extremists and that the attack on Lt Gen Brar was the result of his ( Badal’s) politics to appease hardliners.
Accusing Amarinder of “playing sheer politics”, Badal said the Captain had left the Congress over the Operation Bluestar in 1984 but was now using the memorial to brighten his politics.