Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC), inside Pakistan-Ocupied Kashmir (POK), hailing it as an “apt, timely and effective operation”.
Badal had called an emergency cabinet meeting here on Thursday evening to take stock of the situation and ministers also lauded the PM for “decisively ordering this surgical operation to demolish the bases and camps of those acting with impunity against our citizens”, a spokesman here stated.
At a press conference later, Badal said that the people of Punjab are “ready to face the situation in this crisis”.
“Punjab, which is rightly called the sword arm of India, has suffered immensely because of the inhuman and ghastly acts of terrorism by these elements. Peace and communal harmony in the state has been one of the prime targets of these elements as was evident in the attacks on Dinanagar and Pathankot,” the CM also stated in a written statement.
Badal stated that the Centre and Punjab were totally aware of the challenge posed to life and property of those residing along the border in view of the current situation.
“But, what to do when the situation gets out of our hands, though the maximum damage in such a situation is done to Punjab?” Badal said.
Along the border, 60 villages were being evacuated in Fazilka district, 300 in Ferozepur, 135 in Tarn Taran, 137 in Amritsar, 290 in Gurdaspur and 65 in Pathankot, that is, 987 villages in the six border districts.
Schools and colleges have been earmarked as camps for the evacuated population and medical teams were also alerted to reach the camps, while many families opted to move to their relatives or friends, Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal said.
Punjab police parties have been sent to the empty evacuated villages to guard the households, informed DGP Suresh Arora.
The council of ministers also appealed to the people of Punjab to remain united and vigilant and “keep their calm in the lofty traditions of patriotic fervour and selfless service”.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, deputy chief minister: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a courageous step. It should send a clear message to Pakistan not to meddle in our internal affairs and stop training and arming terrorists. The evacuation of border villages will be orderly and the settlement of evacuees will be proper and safe.
Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress president: Don’t create war refugees before the actual war. It was required to smash terrorist camps in the PoK but uncalled for to evacuate people up to 10 km at the start of the harvesting season. We didn’t do that even during the 1965 war. Shelling and harvesting went together.
Vijay Sampla, Punjab BJP chief: It’s a historical moment. I salute the valour shown by our forces and the political will and diplomacy with which our Prime Minister gave a free hand to the army to strike back.