Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress Lok Sabha MP, raised the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab and alleged that “kala din” (days of militancy) were coming back to the state under the Akali Dal-BJP government. His remarks led to an exchange between Congress and NDA MPs on Thursday. In this interview, Bittu explains why he feels the situation in the state is so bad and why he blames the state government for it.
What made you say the days of militancy are back?
There has been an intense agitation by cotton farmers in Malwa and farmers are committing suicide every day. The government wanted to divert attention from such issues, and started playing with the emotions of Sikhs. There have been cases of desecration and disappearance of the Holy Book from one place. For the people, the most important thing is their religion. The state government has failed to find the missing book but the police fired on protesters and two people were killed.
Do you feel central government intervention would help?
The government has filed cases against unknown police officials. How can that be? Police have records but the government hasn’t figured it out yet. A retired judge appointed for an inquiry hasn’t been given an office nor staff for the last two months. A CBI probe has been ordered into the missing Guru Granth Sahib. When Rahul Gandhi visited these places, families complained they had no faith in the central and state governments. So he has appealed to the President that there should be an inquiry by a sitting judge. Our demand stands.
You have mentioned that the situation has created because of the upcoming assembly polls.
Obviously. They want to create an atmosphere of fear, and blame the Congress and divert attention from other issues.
But the Akali Dal too has accused the Congress of promoting unrest.
Sukhbir Badal came to Delhi to make that allegation because people as well as the media there know who is behind it. If the Congress is behind it, let them prove it. Let them bring the culprits to book even if it is a Congressman. You have your government here and there. Why are you wasting time? They began this trouble but things have gone out of hand for them now.
The Congress has a new leadership, and AAP is looking to make a space for itself. Is the Congress in a position to win the people’s confidence?
Certainly. People remember the work of the Congress government under Amarinder Singh. The Congress is 100 per cent stronger than AAP. People chose four AAP MPs but none of the performed; two of them have left the party. But whenever the Congress has been in power, the state has seen good times.