SYL face-off: Centre intervenes as tension builds up over INLD’s threat | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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SYL face-off: Centre intervenes as tension builds up over INLD’s threat

As tension mounted between Punjab and Haryana over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue in the wake of the threat by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to dig the canal, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday sent an official to Chandigarh who held meetings with the top cops of the two states.

punjab Updated: Feb 22, 2017 23:58 IST
Vishal Rambani
A View of the SYL canal at Kapuri village near Ghanour Town in Patiala.
A View of the SYL canal at Kapuri village near Ghanour Town in Patiala.(Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

As tension mounted between Punjab and Haryana over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue in the wake of the threat by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to dig the canal, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday sent an official to Chandigarh who held meetings with the top cops of the two states.

Meanwhile, leader of Opposition in Haryana assembly and INLD MLA Abhay Chautala is sticking to the party’s plan of digging the canal in Punjab territory on Thursday.

MHA joint secretary Dalip Kumar held meetings with director general of police (DGPs) of Haryana and Punjab in Chandigarh. Sources said he asked both the DGPs to ensure law and order “at any cost”.

Also read |INLD threat to dig up SYL canal: Amarinder urges Centre to deploy armed forces

It was Kumar who had prepared the status report of MHA on the SYL issue, which was submitted in the Supreme Court after the Punjab assembly passed the controversial bill to return land to farmers. The apex court had then ordered to maintain status quo on the issue.

Also read | Punjab refuses to budge, says cannot recover SYL land returned to farmers

PUNJAB TAKING NO CHANCES

Meanwhile, a wary Punjab is taking no chances and fortified its borders with Haryana to stop the INLD from entering the state.

The state government has deployed more than 5,000 security men, besides 10 battalions of the paramilitary forces, on various entry points of Punjab in Patiala district.

Also read |Barricades up, drones in the air, border with Haryana fortified to avert SYL face-off

CCTV cameras have been installed, steel walls erected, barbed-wired fencing put up in the fields alongside the Haryana border. A helicopter is being used to conduct aerial surveillance. A mock drill was also conducted to check the preparedness.

Police sources said the GT Road entry point will be sealed on Thursday morning, while heavy police deployment has already been made at Kapuri village in Patiala — the place where the foundation stone of the SYL canal was laid in 1982 — and other embankments of the canal.

The government has barricaded roads, brick-walled bridges and deployed around 2,000 security personnel. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora, who is personally monitoring the security arrangements, said, “All possible measures have been taken. Forces have been deployed to tackle any situation.”

DGP (law and order) Hardeep Dhillon and IG (Patiala range) B Chander Sekhar are camping in the transit control room set up at Shambu.

SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS
  • Over 5,000 cops deployed, besides 10 battalions of CRPF
  • Helicopter is being used to conduct aerial surveillance
  • Anti-riot squads, water cannons, tear gas firing squads, horse squad deployed
  • Steel barriers kept ready at Shambu border, which will be placed on the road on Thursday morning to stop any traffic, which will be diverted from Sirhind towards Chandigarh road to reach Ambala.
  • Section 144 CrPC imposed on Patiala district

The police have also decided not to allow All India Sikh Students Federation activists to reach at Kapuri or Shambu. The AISSF had announced to stop INLD workers from entering Punjab.

After his meeting with MHA official, Haryana DGP KP Singh visited the Shambhu barrier, the main entry point of Punjab from Haryana. He took stock of the situation and assured all assistance to Punjab in maintaining law and order.

Haryana has also increased its police strength at Shambhu in the wake of MHA’s intervention.

The DGP also visited the vegetable market at Ambala, where INLD workers will converge on Thursday before moving towards Punjab for digging of SYL. The site is around two km from the Punjab border.

PUNJAB POLICE NOT RELYING ON HARYANA

Punjab Police sources said the political compulsions of the BJP government in Haryana won’t allow it to stop INLD as any action against the party over the SYL issue can cause political damage to the saffron party. Therefore, Punjab is taking extra precautions. Police officials have been directed to use heavy force if INLD workers try to cross into the Punjab territory.

A senior Punjab police official said, “Even as the Haryana Police have assured full support, Punjab cant’ bank upon them. We are preparing as per our own plan as we know even a single incident will have dangerous cascading effect on Punjab’s law and order, as SYL is an emotive issue in Punjab”.

He said if the INLD wants to lodge a peaceful protest at Shambhu, the police have earmarked a place for it.