Rubbishing allegations that the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is appeasing Sikh radicals for political gains, party patron and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said that Lt Gen KS Brar (retd), who was attacked by alleged Khalistani radicals in London on September 30, was commenting on the issue of the under-construction Bluestar memorial "without adequate knowledge about the ground realities".
Brar, who led Operation Bluestar in 1984 to flush out militants from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, has said that supporting construction of a memorial to those killed by the army was a move that could potentially revive terrorism in the border state. "Brar has not visited Punjab in several years. He lives in a fortress in Mumbai. He should first visit the state before making comments," Badal said, reacting to the sharp observations of the sole surviving commander of the army operation.
The CM, who was here to preside over the third Bharatiya Vigyan Sammelan (science seminar) at Lovely Professional University, said such statements could create a sense of insecurity and panic amongst the peace-loving people of Punjab. "Shiromani Akali Dal sacrificed several of its leaders and workers during terrorism. Why will we support the radicals?" he asserted, though he was quick to strike a moderate note and stressed that he was not "criticising" Brar, but just pointing out that Brar was actually not aware of the ground realities.
Then Badal turned the argument against the Congress, accusing its leaders of "actually trying to create terrorism in Punjab by issuing provocative statements in view of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls". "The Congress has a habit of raking up such issues out of frustration, especially when out of power. It has always pursued a destructive agenda and defamed us throughout the country to suit its interests."
Asked about the SAD-controlled Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) honouring relatives of the assassins of former army chief General AS Vaidya, Badal folded his hands and skirted the matter: "Oh baba! Tusi maaf karo. Eho jian gallaan na karo, jide naal mahaul kharab hunda hai. (Please don't raise issues that can vitiate the atmosphere)."