The Dal Khalsa, a radical Sikh group, has slammed Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for offering sops such as free education, health care and housing facilities to migrants and expressed the fear that this could lead to a "mass exodus" of people from other states to Punjab.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the growing influx and settlement of migrants in the state had brought about many negative and unwanted changes in Punjab. "It's ironic that Badal has failed to realise that the influx of migrants has had serious socio-economic-cultural ramifications on Sikhs in particular and Punjab in general," he added.
Pointing out that Punjab had the largest Dalit population in the country, he said a large percentage of this section was poorer than the migrants settled in the state. This section continues to be a neglected lot, he added.
Lashing out at the Badal government, he said offering sops to migrants was clearly vote-bank politics that would ultimately harm the interests of Punjab. The spokesperson said such sops would change the demographic character of the state from a Sikh-majority state to a Sikh-minority state.
He advised Badal to learn from Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, who had announced that learning Kannada language and culture would be compulsory for all immigrants. "Badal must ensure that no sops are given to anyone who cannot read and write Punjabi," he added.
However, he clarified that their organisation was not against migrants coming to Punjab to earn a living but were concerned about their permanent settlement.