Hoshiarpur: Senior Congress leader and former deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh on Thursday said non-resident Punjabis were showing stiff resistance to the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, currently on a “goodwill” visit to North America to mobilise support of the Punjabi diaspora in favour of the party for the 2017 assembly elections in the state as they were utterly disillusioned with the government. The Congress leader spoke to Hindustan Times after attending a private function in the city.
This resentment was a sequel to the hostility the NRIs suffered during their visits to the state, he added.
“Properties of NRIs have been usurped by their own family members or close relations. Whenever they make any effort to retrieve these properties, they are confronted with hostility, both by the usurpers and by the local administration. The Punjab police and revenue officials in connivance with the usurpers play a pivotal role in depriving NRIs of their inherited possessions,” he alleged.
“The government of the day, despite its tall claims, has failed miserably to deliver to the expectations of the Punjabi Diaspora", he added.
Bir Devinder said that the NRI police stations and much hyped help line had failed to redress the grievances of the community nor any tangible results were derived from NRI sammelans, he added. "Non-resident Punjabis have now given vent to their pent up feelings in the form of angry demonstrations", he said, claiming that the community was also angry the way pending Sikh issues were being handled by the SAD.
Drawing attention to the plight of Sikhs who had fled to foreign shores during the period of militancy and got asylum, he said that due to very severe terms and conditions, they had neither got citizenship of their adopted country nor legal rights to travel to India as they had to abandon their Indian citizenship while seeking asylum. He said that the SAD never made any effort to bail out those victims of circumstances.