Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday warned that the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to provide water to neighbouring Haryana can trigger return of militancy in the border state.
“There are Khalistani elements across the border (in Pakistan) who are waiting for an opportune moment to once again unleash terror on Punjab’s soil,” said the former Punjab chief minister. Peace in Punjab was marred in the last quarter of the previous century by militants demanding an independent state of Khalistan for Sikhs.
“Denial of water to residents of Malwa and other regions of southern Punjab, in particular, can lead to violence, given the past violence in the region that saw onset of terrorism with the passing of Anandpur Sahib resolution in 1973 (by the Akalis) and also the spread of Naxalism,” the 74-year-old senior politician said.
Amarinder, who resigned as Lok Sabha member following the Supreme Court ruling on the SYL canal in favour of Haryana earlier this month, said if voted to power in the coming assembly elections, he will again take legal recourse by bringing in proper legislations in the state assembly on the sharing of river waters. Amarinder was the chief minister when the Punjab assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004.
“I will do it once again when I am in power with two-thirds majority in the assembly. I had earlier also done all I could legally to prevent even a single drop of water from flowing out of Punjab. I can promise one thing: water of Punjab will remain with the state’s people, who need every single drop of it for their own survival,” he said.
Claiming the interests of Punjab’s people are of utmost importance, Amarinder said: “I will not allow these to be compromised at any cost, even if the Congress leadership tomorrow decides to take a contrarian stand on the issue.”
Targeting Punjab chief minister and Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal, the state Congress chief said after the SYL verdict, he (Badal) had lost “whatever little credibility” he had in public eye . “For 10 years, he (Badal) allowed Punjab’s case in the apex court on the SYL issue to be compromised. For 10 years, he closed his eyes to the people’s problems,” the former CM said.