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Situation in Punjab 'not quite normal': Chidambaram

PTI  New Delhi, May 25, 2009
First Published: 19:57 IST(25/5/2009) | Last Updated: 20:11 IST(25/5/2009)

Terming the situation in Punjab as "not quite normal", Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the Centre has asked the state government to enforce curfew strictly in all areas where violence broke out after the killing of a sect leader in Austria.

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The Centre has also responded to the state's request for additional companies of para-military companies by sending 2,500 personnel and a helicopter, he told reporters after assuming office in New Delhi.

"We have already provided 14 companies (1,400 personnel) of paramilitary forces. They are already in place since morning. Eleven more (companies) are moving. We have also provided a helicopter to the state government," he said.

Expressing concern over the violence which spread from Jalandhar to the neighbouring districts of Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahar, the Home Minister said the situation in the state is "not quite normal".

"We are informed that curfew was imposed in Jalandhar and some other places. But our information is that though the curfew was imposed, it was not enforced strictly. There are TV visuals of people moving in Jalandhar and some other places," he said.

The Home Minister said the Centre has asked the Punjab government to enforce curfew wherever imposed. "The decision to impose curfew was of the state government and once it has been imposed, it must be enforced," he said.

Appealing to people of Punjab to maintain peace and return home, Chidambaram said the government has some information about the incident in Vienna and was still waiting for the details. "We have some information. There is a time gap also. Preliminary information is that some people outside Austria came to the Gurdwara and unleashed violence. But I am awaiting full information," he said.

The Home Minister termed the incident in Vienna as "serendipitous" event over which nobody had any control and nobody had any indication.

"It is a completely serendipitous event. Now, that event has provoked a section of the Sikh population to indulge in violence," he said.

Chidambaram said the Punjab government is dealing with the matter and it should be given time to put the violence to an end. "We should be more patient, give time to the Punjab government to deal with the matter. We should not become judgmental on the first day. I don't wish to be judgmental. We are willing to help the Punjab government," he said.

The Home Minister said the MPs of the Punjab are also helping the authorities in restoring normalcy in the state.


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