Following the attack on Operation Bluestar commander Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar (retd) in London, allegedly by Khalistan sympathisers, the Punjab Congress has raised concerns about the security of opposition leaders, especially those who oppose such anti-national and separatist forces.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar met union minister for home affairs and justice Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday in New Delhi and expressed concern over the pruning of political leaders' security by the Punjab Police on the directions of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
"There are several leaders of the Congress and other secular political parties in Punjab who have been invariably raising their voice against fundamentalist and separatist elements. But with the pruning of their personal security, they have become vulnerable to attacks by hardliners. This is also a ploy by some vested interests in Punjab to muzzle voices against anti-national forces," Jakhar told Shinde.
Shinde assured Jakhar that he would immediately take up the issue with the Punjab home affairs and justice department and also speak to the principal secretary, home, to find an amicable solution.
Jakhar told Shinde that with the re-election of the Akali-BJP government in Punjab earlier this year, fundamentalist forces had again started intensifying their separatist activities.
"In the recent past, so many activities of this kind have taken place within the state and outside. The attack on Lt Gen Brar, who played an instrumental role in flushing out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984, is one such instance. Despite several warnings given by the union government and central security agencies that pro-Khalistan elements were trying to intensify their activities in Punjab and elsewhere, the Akali-BJP government and especially the Punjab Police have not been able to restore a sense of security among the people of Punjab," said Jakhar.
He stated that by withdrawing security from Congress legislators, former parliamentarians, ex-legislators and district Congress presidents, the Punjab Police seemed to instill a sense of fear among those who had been raising their voice against such forces.
Jakhar sought Shinde's help for urging the Centre to put pressure on the Akali-BJP government to act tough against fundamentalists and ensure security for political leaders who condemned divisive elements.
On his arrival to India from London after the attack, Brar had accused the Shiromani Akali Dal-led government of appeasing Khalistan sympathisers for votes. Brar also said that the Centre's soft-pedalling on state security issues could take Punjab back to the days of terrorism prevalent in the 1980s.