Sukhbir blames Pakistan’s ISI for crime spate in Punjab

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 10, 2016 18:44 IST
Sukhbir Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday summed up the recent series of law-and-order setbacks in the state, including last week’s attack on a senior Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader, as handiwork of Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“Their (ISI’s) plan is to target leaders, carry out sacrileges (of religious scriptures) to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in Punjab before the elections,” Sukhbir, also the state’s home minister, told a press conference here. “We (state intelligence agencies) had the entire information that we sent to the central government, and Union home minister Rajnath Singh was also apprised of it last month,” he declared, adding that “police are doing their job in the best way possible. Punjab police have busted many modules and arrested people from abroad also in this connection”. He refused to elaborate, saying that would hamper investigation.

He also declared as “solved” the cases of two anti-sacrilege protesters having been killed in police firing in Faridkot’s Behbal Kalan village last year and that of burning of Quran pages at Malerkotla earlier this year, in which a Delhi MLA of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is among the accused. He said the two “high-profile cases” that remain unsolved are the attack on the RSS Punjab unit vice-president, Brig (retd) Jagdish Gagneja in Jalandhar, and the killing of Namdhari matriarch Chand Kaur at the sect’s headquarters at Bhaini Sahib near Ludhiana.

Asked about the report of the Zora Singh Commission on last October’s Behbal Kalan firing, he said it was pending with the state advocate general for review “for appropriate legal action”. He brushed aside queries on further action against the then senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Sharma, who was suspended after the Zora panel reportedly indicted him for the firing. “I will check on that,” Sukhbir said.

He reiterated his accusation that Sikh radical groups from abroad were financing the AAP and demanded that its funds be brought under the scanner. He dubbed the AAP and the Congress “a frustrated lot”, adding that the two parties had tried but failed to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in Punjab.

Pak fomenting trouble in Punjab: Cong MP

New Delhi: Congress leader Ravneet Singh Bittu on Wednesday raised concern over alleged Pakistan-sponsored attempts to foment trouble in Punjab as well as to drive out Sikhs from Kashmir.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, the Ludhiana MP said, 25 years after Kashmiri Pandits being forced out of the Valley, Sikhs were being increasingly targeted there.

Shifting the focus to Punjab, Bittu said the state government is a “panicky” lot following the recent attack on a leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He said the government has sought more paramilitary forces as there appears to be an attempt to create trouble in the state, which has already witnessed militancy.

Bittu said the Intelligence Bureau should be more alert in view of the nefarious designs of those across the border and urged the Centre to order strict vigil. PTI

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