Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Monday that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) would raise with the Centre the issues pertaining to transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab.
Interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of a function organised to pay tributes to Shaheed Darshan Singh Pheruman here, the chief minister said that every Punjabi was equally concerned with these emotive issues, which have been hanging fire due to the discriminatory attitude of the successive Congress governments at the centre.
He said that the SAD had always remained a votary of giving the Punjabi-speaking areas and Chandigarh back to Punjab and a legitimate share in river waters to the state.
He made it clear that these issues had not been put on the back burner by his party and the struggle for these demands would continue.
Rather than reacting on what could be the likely stand of the NDA government on these issues that also concerned Haryana, where the BJP has just taken the command, the chief minister preferred to blame the Congress for not fulfilling these demands. He said that the Congress has deliberately denied Punjabi- speaking areas and Chandigarh to Punjab, for which the Punjabis would never forgive them.
Earlier paying floral tributes to Shaheed Darshan Singh Pheruman at a public function, the chief minister recalled Pheruman's fast onto death that he undertook to get back the Punjabi-speaking areas and Chandigarh back in Punjab. He also recalled the services rendered by Pheruman during the national freedom struggle and the Gurdwara Reform Movement in the state.
Regretting that none of the previous state governments had cared to recognise the immense contribution of Pheruman, the chief minister said that from the next year, a state-level function would be held annually to mark the death anniversary of this great martyr, who laid down his life for the sake of Punjab after 74 days of hunger strike.
He said that Pheruman had launched a vigorous struggle against the tyranny and oppression of the Britishers and then of the Congress government at the centre, which had denied Punjabi- speaking areas and even a capital for Punjab.
The chief minister bemoaned that even after more than four decades after the death of Pheruman, these issues were still unresolved because the Congress had always meted out step-motherly treatment to the state.
He cautioned the people to beware of the perpetrators of 'Operation Bluestar' and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and not to get swayed away by the malicious propaganda of the Congress leaders.
Other prominent leaders present on the occasion included Lok Sabha MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, MLAs Manjit Singh Mianwind and Baljeet Singh Jalaal Usma and former MP Rajmohinder Singh Majitha.