Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh has demanded deployment of armed forces ahead of Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD’s) threat to dig up Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on February 23.
Demanding preventive arrest of INLD leader Abhay Chautala and cancellation of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s parole to control the situation, Amarinder said he himself had been repeatedly warning that the SYL issue had the potential to trigger the revival of terrorism in Punjab.
“The intelligence reports endorsing these apprehensions have necessitated a strong crackdown on INLD leaders before the situation goes out of hand,” Amarinder said in a press statement. The former chief minister said Abhay’s adamant stand on the issue and his threat to go ahead with the SYL incursion even if the army is called in is a ground enough for his preventive detention.
The central government should also immediately step in to order large-scale deployment of armed forces ahead of the INLSD threat. Abhay’s defiant and provocative statements can have a long-term, explosive impact on Punjab’s peace, he added.
The Congress leader said Punjab could not be left to its own devices to handle the current volatile situation, particularly when the state is in post-poll limbo awaiting the outcome of assembly elections.
Militants were first to stop SYL construction: Dal Khalsa
Countering Amarinder’s statement, the Dal Khalsa said the former CM was exaggerating the SYL Canal issue by raising the bogey of “terror” revival threat.
“The first practical action to effectively stop the construction of the SYL Canal was taken up by Babbar Khalsa militants in the 1990’s,” Harpal Singh Cheema, Dal Khalsa head said in a press statement on Tuesday.
“Had it been left to traditional mainstream politicians, the SYL would have been the reality long back,” he said, adding that the digging of canal is next to impossible.
He said it’s not the SYL issue that has the potential to “trigger the revival of armed rebellion” but the continued injustice being meted out to Punjab by all the organs of the state.
Cheema said if Amarinder was concerned about the possible revival of militancy, he should work to find out respectable resolution to the lingering Punjab problem.
Abay was creating chaos only to revive his political moorings and that the Badals have left the state in this hour of crisis to help their Haryana friend Chautala to play misadventure, he said.
“Given the chance, the people of Punjab can deal with the likes of Chautalas and protect the state water resources from any outside aggression,” he added.