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‘Sikh Referendum’ row: Khaira clarifies, says his statement has been twisted

The statement came a day after Khaira faced flak from all political parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party.

punjab Updated: Jun 17, 2018 22:04 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Sikh Referendum row,Aam Aadmi Party,Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira addressing a press conference in Jalandhar on Sunday.(HT Photo)

Under fire for his controversial remarks over support to “Referendum 2020”, a movement initiated by US-based advocacy group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for a separate Sikh state in India, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Sunday said he does not support any such cause.

“This is propaganda by the Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP and Congress. My party too fell into this well-planned trap,” Khaira said, while addressing a press conference here.

The statement came a day after Khaira faced flak from all political parties, including the AAP. Party’s co-president Dr Balbir Singh said on Saturday that they will take action against Khaira. The Congress and Akalis were also among who lashed out at Khaira, forcing him to hold a press conference to clarify his stand.

Claiming that his statement has been twisted, Khaira said the electronic media was trying to put words into his mouth. “One of the reporters of the print media published what I never said,” Khaira claimed.

“I ask the government to collect bytes of my statements from the electronic media and show me where I was seen supporting the referendum. If found guilty, I will resign as an MLA and even quit politics,” Khaira said.

He said in 1912, the Akali Dal handed over a memorandum having signatures of Parkash Singh Badal to the visiting UN secretary general asking that Sikhs want right to self-determination. “Badal started this referendum in 1992, but he was never considered as anti-national,” said Khaira.

“Badal even burnt copies of the Constitution of India outside the Lok Sabha in protest against clause 2 (b) of Article 25 which cites that Sikhs are part of Hindu religion. Badal had said that Sikhs are a separate community, but again he was not considered anti-national,” he said.

Lashing out at chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Khaira said in 1994, during the reading of Amritsar Declaration in presence of Surjit Singh Barnala and Simranjit Singh Mann, Amarinder demanded an autonomous state of Punjab, which is equal to Referendum 2020.

Khaira said if people supporting a separate Sikh state are dividing the nation, then leaders of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh too should be considered anti-national as they have been pushing for making India as a Hindu nation.

Khaira’s U-turn to save his chair: Majithia

A few hours after Khaira denied of having supported “Referendum 2020”, SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said the AAP leader has made a U-turn to save his chair. He also asked AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to make his stand clear on the controversy.

Own the remark or sack Khaira: Chandumajra

SAD leader and Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra on Sunday asked Kejriwal to own up Khaira’s statement on Sikh referendum or sack him from the party. “Any act against the Constitution is sedition,” he said.

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 21:30 IST