Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla Tuesday said that there is a fear that Pakistan may use the Kartarpur corridor to push terrorists into India.
“It is well known that Pakistan sends terrorists into India and this may happen even with the Kartarpur corridor,” Sampla, who is the former president of the Punjab unit of BJP, told media persons here Tuesday.
However, when pointed out that terrorists had attacked Dinanagar and Pathankot even without a corridor, Sampla asked “Does that mean we should leave the border open and put no checks?”
The minister lashed out at Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for his statements in Pakistan as well India.
“Pakistan has now a weapon named Sidhu and is using it. In future, we will have to face a lot of damage because of it. Punjab will be harmed in the long run because of the way Sidhu is aggressive. I give the credit for the corridor to the ardas (prayers) of the followers of Guru Nanak Dev,” he said.
Sampla said that Gopal Singh Chawla, a former president of Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, who was seen in a photograph with Sidhu, is anti-India. “Maybe his thoughts will change in future. But as of now, he is a friend of terrorist organisations and talks their language,” he said.
Terming the separatist organisation Sikhs For Justice as “Unjustice for Sikhs”, Sampla said that the face of the organisation, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, was himself not following the “maryada” of Sikhism, so he could hardly talk about protecting the community.
Commenting on the ongoing strife within the Congress over the remarks made by Sidhu against Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Sampla said that though it was an internal matter of the party, Sidhu should have respected the CM. “Even though I am from an opposition party, but when I go outside the state I call the CM as the CM of my state. The way, in which Sidhu spoke, was very strange. There is a dignity of the office, which has to be maintained,” he said.
He added that Punjab’s image has been sullied by Sidhu through his comments. “It is like defaming your state,” he said.
Sampla, however, refused to give a straight answer to the issue of the inclusion of names of former CM Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir on the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in Dera Baba Nanak. “This was decided by people senior to me. I cannot answer for them,” he said.
Rs 400 cro anomaly in SC scholarship funds
The minister said that Punjab government had failed to provide an audit report of its utilisation of funds released for Scheduled Caste (SC) students by the Centre. The minister said that there are indications that an anomaly regarding approximately Rs 400 crore pertaining to the funds exists.
“I will not say that this is a scam or anything like that because we are yet to receive the audit reports. But these are the indications that we have received,” said Sampla.
He added that the Centre had released Rs 115 crore in April 2017 towards scholarship funds followed by Rs 327 crore.
“We are committed towards clearing any backlog, which may exist by the end of the financial year, but we must be given an audit report as promised by the state government,” he said.