The Congress on Monday demanded the arrest of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for “indulging in anti-national activities” by “accusing a security agency of being responsible for the drug menace” in the state.
The demand was made by Congress leaders while protesting against the “failure” of the SAD-BJP government to check drug smuggling in the state at a dharna held at India Gate on the road to the Atari border.
The Congress’ dharna has been seen as a counter-attack on the Akalis, who are staging a dharna at the Attari border against drug smuggling in the state.
The Congress, while targeting the Akalis, also accused some of its leaders of being involved in the drug trade in the state.
Effigies of Sukhbir Badal, revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, MLAs Virsa Singh Valtoha and Inderbir Singh Bolaria as well as of state BJP chief Kamal Sharma were set ablaze by the protesters.
Demanding the arrest of Sukhbir Badal, state Congress vice-president Surinder Singh Sibia, who is also the in charge of Amritsar district, said, “The deputy CM has committed a grave offence by holding the Border Security Force (BSF) responsible for the entry of drugs into the state from Pakistan. Badal junior is playing with the morale of the BSF jawans responsible for guarding the borders.”
“We call upon the Prime Minister to immediately take action against Sukhbir Badal for indulging in anti-national activities,” he added.
Others who addressed the dharna included former ministers Sardool Singh and Shahbazpuri, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Tarsem Singh, Sukhjinder Raj Singh Majithia (Lalli Majithia) and president of the rural unit of the district Congress Gurjeet singh Aujla, who had organised the protest.
The Congress speakers in particular targeted Bikram Majithia, accusing him of being involved in the drug racket in Punjab. In this context they referred to the accusations levelled against Majithia by Jagdish Singh Bhola, a dismissed DSP, who is behind the bars in the Patiala synthetic drug racket.
The Congress leaders pointed out that synthetic drug did not come from across the border, but were manufactured in the state. They accused the Akalis of patronising the synthetic drug cartels of which people like Bhola were a part.
The Congress also attacked the BJP, pointing out that it could not be given a clean chit as it was a part and parcel of the government. Had the BJP sincerely concerned about the drug menace, it would have walked out of the government, said the Congress leaders.
Meanwhile, the urban unit of district Congress also held a dharna against the SAD and the drugs menace outside the office of the deputy commissioner.