Senior Akali leaders will soon meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to take up the issue of release of Sikh prisoners languishing in various jails across the country, even after completing their prison term.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here today, said that a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders would vehemently plead the case of these Sikh prisoners before the Union government for securing their release.
“I have already taken up this matter with the respective state governments and the Centre for release of these prisoners,” he said, adding that the final call on this issue was to come from the Union government.
When asked about the reports of rejection of these cases by the Centre, he said the state government has not yet received any communication on this matter from the Centre.
A fortnight ago, Badal had sought “premature release” of 13 life convicts, five of them are jailed in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh and one in bomb blast in New Delhi in September 1993, in which nine persons were killed and 25 others, including the then Youth Congress President M S Bitta, were injured.
Badal wrote separate letters to his counterparts in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat and administrators of Delhi and Chandigarh Union Territory seeking premature release of 13 life convicts hailing from Punjab, presently lodged under TADA Act in the jails of various states across the country for the past several years.
Badal has sought “their prompt release on humanitarian grounds.”
Asked about the differences between SAD and ally BJP were growing by the day on various issues, 87-year-old five-time CM said, the SAD-BJP alliance was everlasting and both the parties should not be seen as different from each other.
“The tried and tested alliance between both the parties is a unique phenomenon of the Indian democratic system, which has passed every litmus test in last few years,” he further said.
Badal said that the SAD-BJP alliance has always stood the test of time and “the relationship between both the alliance partners was very strong, impeccable and cordial because it had been time and again cemented with mutual affection and understanding.”
Expressing grave concern over unemployment in the state, the Chief Minister said that the state government was fully sensitised towards this problem and the only solution to tackle it was to impart skill training in different field to enable the youth to earn their livelihood.
He said that the state government has embarked a special scheme to train youth under various skill development programmes in order to cater the needs of the local industry.
“Skilled manpower will give much needed fillip to the economic growth of the state thereby acting as a catalyst for all round development of the state and prosperity of its people,” Badal added.
He said that Punjab’s economy has been adversely affected due to the partition of the country and prolonged militancy earlier, “but it got the fatal blow when the Congress led governments at the Centre granted incentives to the neighbouring states, which led to the mass exodus of the industry of the state to these hilly states.”