AMID THE unrest over the incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab, a senior Akali leader has alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was vitiating the environment in the state through social media and demanded an investigation into its role in fueling the agitiations.
Virsa Singh Valtoha, SAD MLA from Khem Karan in Tarn Taran, told The Indian Express that social media had assumed “demonic proportions” in Punjab and alleged that AAP was using this form of media to further their political interests.
Sucha Singh Chhotepur, Punjab convenor, AAP, said the government was welcome to get any inquiry done against the party. “We want peace and harmony in Punjab. Our act is clean,” he said.
Despite problems in the party, the AAP still has a significant support base in the state.However, its support for the hardliners in the state has been a cause for concern. Most of the protests over the desecration incidents are happening in areas considered strongholds of the party.
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“It is only this new political outfit that has put to use social media to propagate their ideology and connect with the masses. The atmosphere is being vitiated by several disgruntled elements in foreign countries through a few radio channels and social media. And nobody else but AAP is in touch with them. They keep spreading wrong information through social networking sites,” he said.
He added Punjab had paid a huge price for militancy in the state and nobody wanted its revival at any cost. “Who else knows this better than me? We just want our ‘qaum’ to be acknowledged and we want to bring up our children with these values. Why are a handful of people trying to spoil our environment?,” said Valtoha, who has often taken pride in his brush with militancy in the past.
Chhotepur, however, suggested that the desecration incidents were “manufactured” to divert attention from the agrarian crisis. Chottepur said, “[Valtoha] has no business to blame anyone. We all know who sponsored this desecration and who wanted to divert the attention of people from farmers’ agitation. But still we are ready for any inquiry against us.”
Valtoha, who was among the few who heard the recorded telephonic conversation between an NRI and one of the accused in a desecration incident, said, “I was shocked. I heard the audio tape five times. I could not believe a baptised Sikh could desecrate our holy book.”
He added, “We all know who wants to take over the reins of the state from the Akalis. I urge the state government to probe the activities of the AAP.”