A number of arrests of terrorists by the Punjab police in recent times has raised a question mark on their timing, especially in view of the souring relations between the alliance partners in the state, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP.
Various political outfits draw this conjecture based on the remarks made by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at Sultanpur Lodhi recently, when he said the alliance was significant to preserve the communal harmony, peace and brotherhood in the state. Hence all efforts were being made to maintain the alliance, he added.
The Punjab police categorically rejected such conjectures, saying there was nothing political about the ongoing arrests, which is a routine exercise to ensure that pro-Khalistan elements didn’t establish their foothold or regroup themselves on Indian or foreign soil.
The political parties in Punjab, however, see a pattern in the arrests and even try to link these with the statements being made by Badal and other SAD spokespersons only to keep the BJP in line.
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said Badal’s recent statement that communal harmony and peace in the state could be maintained only if the alliance remained intact was an indication of the desperation in the rank and file of the SAD.
“Moreover, the credibility of the Punjab government and Punjab Police is at its lowest ebb now. It appears as if fear psychosis is being created in the state among all communities for political gains,” said Bajwa.
CPI national executive member Joginder Dayal said the timing of arrests and the statements of Badal and other Akali leaders saying that only the alliance could ensure a communal harmony in the state is “a worrying trend”.
He said there was no alliance between the Akalis and the BJP before the terrorism engulfed Punjab or even during the troubled times. Both political parties came close only for political gains as Akalis knew they could use the BJP to capture the urban vote bank.
For a senior member of AAP, Manjit Singh, it is a game plan of both the Akalis and the BJP to fool the voters. He said the Akalis knew that even if the voters deserted them in the next assembly polls, they could stay with the BJP and could share power in the state. “I don’t have a specific proof to question the recent arrests of terrorists but people are talking about the timing,” said Manjit.
ADGP (intelligence) Hardeep Singh Dhillon said the arrests of the anti-national elements from India and abroad had been an ongoing process. The police had been successful in breaking many terror modules since 2012 with the help of central intelligence agencies, he said.
Sources in the police revealed that after being suffocated in European countries such as Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom, and also in north American countries such as Canada and the US, the pro-Khalistan elements moved to south-east Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand for safe havens.
The police, at a press conference held on November 7, had revealed in detail the arrest of Jaswant Singh Azad in 2012, who was a UK-based fund raiser, and arrest of Narain Singh, Sukhwant Singh Ballu and Dharam Singh in 2013.
A Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) module comprising Sandeep Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Jagdish Singh and Lakhwinder Singh was busted with seizure of ammunition, in 2013. In a KLF module in Amritsar, Ranjit Singh alias Rana, Salinder Kaur and Daljit Singh alias Jeetu were arrested in 2013. The recent arrests of Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan (BTKF) chief Rattandeep Singh, key operative of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) Ramandeep Singh alias Goldy and Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh alias Mintoo with aide Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi are only a few in the past two years.