Condemning the “dastardly” attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday asked whether an entire nation can be blamed for a handful of people even as Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh called for giving a “befitting reply” to Pakistan saying that “the time for peace talks is over”.
“Nations cannot be held responsible for the dastardly acts of terrorists. The terrorists do not have deen, mazhab (sect and religion),” Sidhu said.
“There are good, the bad and the ugly. Every institution has them. Every nation has them. The ugly need to be punished. But individuals cannot be blamed for the dastardly act,” the Punjab local bodies minister said without naming Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
His statement once again bought to fore the chasm that has developed between him and the Punjab CM.
Amarinder had earlier declined Pakistan’s invitation to attend the foundation stone laying for the Kartarpur Corridor even Sidhu attended the event. Amarinder had cited continued terrorist attacks in his state and killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistan armed forces to decline neighbouring country’s foreign minister’s invitation to the ceremony. Sidhu had also visited Pakistan for Imran Khan’s swearing in as prime minister and had also hugged that country’s Army chief, Qamar Qamar Javed Bajwa, leading to protests back home.
It was reported that Amarinder was not happy over Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan for the ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. The Congress high command had to intervene to ensure peace between the two leaders
The gulf between the duo, however, it seems is far from being filled.
Condemning the terror attack, Amarinder accused Pakistan PM of playing double games. “I warned my country that be careful… we have to be on our toes, watch out…the nefarious activity as such, and it is a strange thing the way Pakistan government is working, the Prime Minister talking peace and the General talking war.”
Sidhu, however, said, “This is about a terrorist attack, which was a dastardly and cowardly act. Those who perpetrate such act should be punished. But these people cannot hold nations to ransom. If some terrorist organisation has done it, then wage a war against them.”
On Amarinder’s condemnation of Imran Khan, Sidhu said, “I have no comments. It is his way of thinking. When have I commented on the CM’s statements before?’ he asked, adding that there has been a bloodshed for last 71 years. “Had they stopped ever? For me, violence is always condemnable. I believe in non-violence throughout. Violence is no solution for anything. For me, non-violence is the most potent weapon to move forward,” he said.
“There has to be a permanent solution. We should put pressure on international community, tap sources to bring peace,” he added.
“Jo suraksha dete hain agar wohi asurakshit hain to hum kaisa message de rahe hain?” (If those who protect us are unsafe then what kind of message are we sending out?). If VIPs can get security, why cannot the jawans be protected. Why was there not a tracker? How could a loaded car just enter the area?,” he asked