Pakistan was trying to destroy India’s youth, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Saturday, alleging that the neighbouring country was flooding the state with drugs to force drop their enrolment in the Indian Army.
Addressing the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Singh joined the chief ministers of Karnataka and Maharashtra in addressing the burning issues in their states.
“We have had an influx of drugs, which has started to grow in recent years. It is at a critical point and we have cracked down hard on this. Pakistan has a long-term plan of destroying our youth. They are trying to demolish the youth along the border,” Singh said.
He said if young men along India’s borders are not fit, it will affect enrolment in the Army.
The Punjab chief minister pointed to recent seizures of hundreds of kilograms of heroin at Gujarat’s Mandvi port and in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri. In both these cases, Singh said, the intended destination of the narcotic substances was Punjab.
He said the state and central agencies have identified a few big illegal drug operators and were going after them.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy addressed concerns on the stability of his coalition government, saying he had the support of Congress and the government would last its full term.
“I will run this government. It is stable. I am here for five years. Some sections are projecting that the government will fall. My Congress friends and the high command are totally supporting me. Cabinet expansion is not a big issue for me,” he said.
Speaking on the violence in Koregaon-Bhima village in Maharashtra in December last year, Fadnavis said it was a larger conspiracy and the state government was acting against those who were going against the Constitution.
“The person, or individual, or institution which is acting against Constitution, I am bound to act against them. They may belong to any class, may belong to any caste… any religion, any institution, they may have any leaning but I am going crush them,” Fadnavis said.
“That is my raj dharma. That is what I am doing. I don’t recognise extreme right or extreme left,” he told a gathering of business leaders, diplomats, political leaders and commentators at the summit.
His government was at the centre of a political row after the Maharashtra police arrested five activists for suspected Maoist links following raids on August 28, sparking outraged protests from human rights defenders. The activists were later termed “urban naxals”.
Critics of the government insisted that the five were punished for their views critical of the dispensation.
“There are some people who want to pitch two communities against each other so that a situation like civil war is created…not just Bhima Koregaon they are in touch with naxals in Chhattisgarh and other places…they are plotting several things.
“It’s a much larger conspiracy that we have unearthed. So many pseudo-liberals came together and went to the SC and still the court ruled in our favour,” he said.
The three chief ministers also expressed concern over bringing fuel under the goods and services tax (GST) as it would affect the states’ revenue.
“There are just three main avenues through which states derive their revenue. If fuel gets taken away, where do states get their revenue from,” Singh said.
“Maharashtra supports bringing fuel into the GST. But at the same time, we also need to consider other alternatives. We have to bring change. With the ethanol policy we can bring down imports by 30 per cent in [the] next five years,” Fadnavis said.