The Punjab government's move to transfer former Sikh militants lodged in various jails across the country to the state has the potential of vitiating the hard earned peace in Punjab, according to a report prepared by the central intelligence agencies for the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the Punjab government gave the green signal to transfer Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar from Delhi's Tihar jail and Gurdeep Singh Khera from Gulbarg jail in Karnataka to Amritsar jail in the next few days.
While Bhullar was convicted for a Delhi blast in 1993 that killed nine persons and seriously injured then Indian Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta, Khera was involved in a bomb blast in Delhi as well as another in Bidar in Karnataka and also of a murder.
Sources revealed that the report also mentioned once the process of transfer of militants to Punjab began from the other states many other hardcore terrorists undergoing imprisonment outside Punjab would also follow the suit.
This influx of militants into Punjab would not only be sensitive to the security of the state but would also give the notorious elements a chance to win new sympathizers both in Punjab jails as well as outside when they would be frequently allowed to go out on parole.
The report also said that it appeared that the state government which was earlier opposed to grant remission to the life sentence of the hardcore militants and criminals lodged in various jails due to various legalities involved has changed stance recently due to its dwindling support base among the radicals and the Sikh panthic groups.
Earlier the state government refused to buckle under pressure despite the fast on to death campaigns launched by Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa and Surat Singh Khalsa.
The report mentioned that the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) the alliance partner of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab though is not very vocal about opposing the move by tooth and nail however this could turn out to be a flashpoint between the two political partners whose relations are far from smooth.
The transfer of militants would send a wrong signal among the urban localities, secular sections and also among the Hindu community who suffered the maximum onslaught of terrorism in the state.
Questioning the timing of the move, Punjab Congress Chief Partap Singh Bajwa said the State had earlier filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court where it was stated that bringing Devinder Singh Bhullar back could create law and order problem and disturb peace in Punjab.
Bajwa said his party had no problem with any prisoner being shifted from one place to the other under the ambit of law, but questioned the "shift of stand of the Akalis as per their convenience".
"I want to ask Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal why have the Akalis shifted their stand and chose this time now. According to their convenience, they keep shifting stand. This government should give an answer to the people of Punjab and also to the Bhullar family," Bajwa said.
Bajwa alleged that the Akalis wanted to go back to fundamentalist issues having failed to deliver on all fronts.
"Knowing they (Akalis) will bite dust in next year's elections, they are creating circumstances to part company with their alliance partner BJP by trying to polarize the voters. They are desperate to win over the hardliners and by seeking to raise their issues, they want to sort of win them over for their vested political interests," he said.
Ludhiana MP, Ravneet Singh Bittu said the move to transfer Bhullar to Punjab was unwarranted. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who is such a senior and seasoned politician should understand the repercussions of such moves of bringing such elements back to Punjab. The Akalis are trying to glorify such elements and trying to make a hero out of him.
Former All India Youth Congress President, Maninderjit Singh Bitta said he has been fighting war against terrorism for all his life. "I have never surrendered or lost to terrorism. But I admit that I have lost to "Political Terrorism", said Bitta adding that the kind of politics played on such issues by all political parties is really unfortunate. He regretted that on this issue even his own party congress did not stand by him.