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In a clear reference to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the neighbouring country was trying to destabilise India even as he announced that a committee will be sent to Pampore to look into any lapses in the handling of the terror attack that left eight CRPF personnel dead.”
Showering praise on security men for successfully eliminating two terrorists involved in Friday’s attack, he said, “I have asked the Home Secretary to send a two-member committee to Pampore to look into any lapses so that we can correct it in the future and our jawans do not face martyrdom in such incidents.
“I want to praise the bravery of our security men. I salute their courage. Terrorists attacked them (security men) deceitfully. But our security men killed those two terrorists successfully,” he said addressing a function to mark the 300th martyrdom anniversary of legendary Sikh Warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in Fatehgarh Sahib.
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The Home Minister said Indian youth should stand up to face forces which want to destabilise the country.
“An attempt is being made by these terrorists and our neighbouring country to destabilise India. I call upon Indian youth to stand up to face such forces and we should greet and welcome the bravery of our security people and the way they are working with such valour and courage,” said Singh without naming any country.
The Home Minister said, “India cannot forget those security men who got martyred. They are not with us now and we pay our tributes to them.”
In the deadliest attack on security forces in recent years, eight CRPF personnel were killed and 21 others critically wounded on Friday when terrorists rained bullets on a bus carrying them at Pampore, in Kashmir.
The Minister stressed that the country needed brave and courageous people to face the current challenge.
“But this period is going on and we need brave people in this time like Banda Singh Bahadur who were ready to lay down their lives for the country and society. Such people can protect the nation,” he said.
He noted that people should take inspiration from people like Banda Singh Bahadur. “Today our country is facing many challenges and to win over these challenges, we can take inspiration from life of people like Banda Singh Bahadur,” he said.
The Union Home Minister also assured the people that the Centre would deliver justice to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“Whenever I come to Punjab, I recall the 1984 riots. The burden of 1984 riots is still being felt. (1984 riots ke dangon ka jo bojh hai hamare dil par barabr bana rehta hai),” he said.
“But I want to assure you that being the Home Minister of the country, we have initiated effective action (in this regard),” said the Minister while addressing the gathering.
Singh said that after coming to power, the Modi-led government formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe 1984 riots.
“After we formed the government, we constituted a SIT and I told SIT that if the (1984) victims and their families are not satisfied with the investigation and if they feel that the way the investigations should have been be held was not carried out, all such matters should be looked into,” said Singh.
The Home Minister said that SIT has recommended re-investigation into 22 such cases pertaining to 1984 riots.
“Several cases are being reviewed. There are 286 such cases. Many cases have been reviewed. But SIT has so far recommended re-investigation into 22 such cases,” he said.
“I want to assure you that you will get justice,” asserted Union Home Minister.
Paying homage to legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the Union Home Minister said that historians had not done justice to him despite his “unprecedented sacrifice”.
Lauding the contribution of ‘Khalsa Panth’ to the country, he said it has served as an armour (Surakhya Kavach) to safeguard the Indian culture and civilization.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called upon the people to follow the teachings of Banda Singh Bahadur and overcome forces of tyranny, oppression and injustice.
The Chief Minister said Banda Singh Bahadur’s sacrifice in the annals of Indian History laid the foundation of Indian Freedom movement with establishing of the first ‘Sikh Raj’ in 1709.
He was a true champion of oppressed sections of the society especially the farmers upon whom he bestowed the ownership rights thereby abolishing the Zamindari system, Badal said.
Seeking inspiration from Bahadur’s great philosophy, Badal said, “Our government has also taken several pro-poor and farmer friendly initiatives to improve upon their lot in its own humble way.”
The Chief Minister lamented that the Sikhs failed to preserve their rich cultural heritage, adding it was an established fact that the nations which tend to forget their history eventually perish.
Appreciating efforts of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the Chief Minister thanked Singh for constituting SIT to reopen the cases of 1984 riots, besides enhancing the compensation to its victims from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs five lakh.
Badal said with these initiatives, these hapless victims had last seen a “light at the end of the tunnel” after a period of 32 years thereby assuaging the tormented psyche of Sikhs.
He attacked the Congress, alleging that it has shielded the guilty.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the state government is fully aware of its responsibility to make the younger generation to comprehend the glorious cultural and heritage of the state.
Keeping in view, Punjab is contemplating to launch a scheme so that the youth from villages across the state could witness the historical monuments in the buses on the lines of ‘Tirath Yatra Scheme’.
Throwing light on the initiatives of the state government, he said the Chief Minister is paying special attention to the preservation of heritage of state.
Lashing out at those who were “trying to defame the state by branding its entire youth as drug addicts”, he said “anti-Punjab and anti-Panthic people have evil designs” on their mind as such unscrupulous elements want to disturb hard earned peace of the state.
He said the state government would not allow the nefarious plans of such forces to succeed.
Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Cabinet Minister Daljit Singh Cheema, Bikram Singh Majithia, BJP MLA and minister Madan Mohan Mittal.