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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Cong asks Akal Takht Jathedar to rein-in Akalis

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, November 17, 2013
First Published: 22:03 IST(17/11/2013) | Last Updated: 22:06 IST(17/11/2013)

The Congress continued with its offensive against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) after the names of certain leaders of the ruling party surfaced during the questioning of some accused in the Patiala drug racket.

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After a series of protests and demonstrations, the Congress has now sought the intervention of Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh and the other Sikh clergy to 'rein-in senior Akali politicians'.

"The drug menace has assumed an alarming proportion in Punjab. The Sikh community faces a mounting challenge. At this juncture, the Akal Takht Jathedar and other Sikh clergy should step in and rein in senior Akali politicians," said Congress spokesperson, Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a statement issued here on Sunday.

Khaira urged the Jathedar to direct the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) to form district-level committees to screen the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) leadership, so as to weed-out drug traffickers and to punish them.

"The Badal government not only lacks the will power to control the drug menace, but is also shielding Akali leaders involved in drug trafficking. The Jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest seat of the Sikhs, can rein-in Akali politicians and YAD miscreants involved in drug peddling," he alleged in the statement.

Khaira referred to the disclosures made by racket kingpin Jagdish Bhola and his associates Maninder Singh Bittu Aulakh and Jagjit Chahal, both of whom had connections with Akali leaders.

He alleged, "The accused also confessed to have used SUV vehicles with red beacons and security to peddle drugs across Punjab."

"It is clear that Bhola, Bittu and Chahal have close connections with senior Akali leaders of Majha region, including Bikram Singh Majithia, Rattan Singh Ajnala MP and Veer Singh Lopoke, who are trying to shift the blame on each other," added Khaira.

On the issue of screening YAD leaders, Khaira alleged, "The outfit headed by Cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia has turned into a den of criminals and drug peddlers. Its leaders are also involved in sand mining and land grabbing."

"A number of YAD leaders have been accused in heinous crimes, but they have never been arrested as the police are helpless owing to their political connections," alleged Khaira.

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