Four days ahead of the 18th death anniversary of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh,who was assassinated on August 31,1995 by Khalistani terrorists,Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday said he and Singh had survived terror attacks on a number of occasions during days of militancy in 1987.
Speaking at a function in Amritsar on Wednesday,Azad said 52 Congress workers,including three MLAs,were gunned down at that time after he led a six-month-long mass contact programme in Punjab. He was then the AICC in charge for Punjab affairs.
As many as 52 party workers,including three MLAs,were killed. I and Beant Singh survived because we did not sleep at our scheduled spots. We used to go to some unknown location at night which was not even known to our colleagues… Beant Singh could not survive for long,but I am still alive, Azad told a gathering in Amritsar.
He also recounted how he started with only 250 workers for the mass contact programme. Merely 30 to 40 people had come to attend initially… By the time the 500th meeting was held,the number had swelled to 1.5 lakh. Outside a Ludhiana stadium,where the event was being held,10 times the people inside were waiting to get in, he added.
Critising the days of terrorism in Punjab,Azad said: There were a very few terrorists. Most of the Sikh brothers and sisters wanted peace.