Updated: October 16, 2021 5:00:13 am
Akali patriarch and former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal on Friday called upon all political parties in the state to “stop fighting among themselves and wage a united fight against the Centre’s move to turn Punjab into a UT through back door by handing it over to the Central security forces like the BSF”.
In a statement, Badal said, “This move will further weaken the already endangered federal structure of the country and will reduce the state government to the status of municipality. This will be severe blow to the pride and dignity of Punjabis.”
Badal further said, “If we don’t stop our mutual fights for petty stakes, the Centre will merrily take advantage of our weaknesses. Tomorrow, we will all repent, having no powers left to solve the problems of the people.”
He said that it was “very unfortunate the Centre has been usurping the rights of the states even on subjects which are in state list in the Constitution.”
He said “Centre had first legislated three black laws on agriculture which is a state subject. Now, with this move, they have done the same encroachment on another state subject, law and order.”
Badal appealed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “get both these encroachments rescinded by revoking the three black laws on agriculture and withdrawing the orders on BSF deployment”.
He also said: “There is also strong ground to believe that the Centre might be preparing to rob the state of its legitimate rights on its river waters to crush the farmers’ movement.” Badal said Akali Dal would not make it a prestige issue and “would gladly join or follow any other party that is willing to lead the fight”.
Describing “Centre’s move to place almost half of Punjab under the BSF” as a “dangerous move”,
Badal said that “this would mark a return to the period when Punjab was declared a disturbed area. By giving sweeping powers to BSF, Centre has rendered Punjab Police totally irrelevant. I am afraid we are back into the era of midnight knocks and searches of homes by security forces without valid orders or prior notice, and without any platform to seek relief as people can no longer turn to local leaders or officers for redressal of grievances.”
“In addition,” said Badal, “the Centre has assumed arbitrary powers even to enter and violate the sanctity of the most sacred shrines, including Shri Harmandar Sahib, Durgiana Temple, Ram Tirath Temple. We all know what the outcome of such insensitivity can be. People of Punjab must unite for safeguarding their own pride and freedom guaranteed under the Constitution.”
“For nearly 15 years, the Centre kept Punjab under President’s rule and even under Army boots, with disastrous consequences. I hope the present rulers in Delhi will learn from history and not repeat the tragic mistakes of the past. I strongly call upon the PM in the interest of Punjab and the whole country not to allow past tragedy to be repeated,” said the Akali stalwart.
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