A day after opposition raised a storm in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha over DGP Dinkar Gupta’s statement on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the opposition to let the matter rest as “everyone makes mistakes”, adding that the “DGP has already apologised for his remarks”. But at the same time, he reminded the House of Pakistan’s “maari neet (bad intentions)” and ISI’s designs to create trouble in Punjab. The CM reiterated that he was resolute that Kartarpur Corridor would not be allowed to close down at any cost.
“The objective of ISI is to disturb Punjab. Punjab has been through a difficult time. It is now our responsibility that we should not repeat it. I want to say this that the DGP has apologised. We all understand. Every human can make mistakes. Can anyone from the opposition say that they have not made mistakes. Let us concentrate on peace,” the CM said.
Amarinder, whose absence from the House on Monday had caused enough heartburn among ruling party MLAs , who were on put on the defensive by the agitating opposition, sought permission from the the Speaker to speak before the Question Hour. The Opposition was seeking Gupta’s removal for his statement made at The Indian Express Idea Exchange in Panchkula that “Kartarpur offers a potential that you send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back as trained terrorist actually.”
Speaking about the controversy surrounding the DGP’s statement, the CM said, “I would like to say that I have noted with great concern the statements made by different persons and organisations on the DGP’s remarks about security concerns relating to Kartarpur Sahib, which could have been avoided.”
‘Will never allow Kartarpur Corridor to close down’
“The Kartarpur corridor opened because we wanted it to be opened. Every Punjabi wanted it. We perform ardas everyday (for free access to Sikh pilgrimages). Our demand was long pending. We wanted our government of India to talk to Pakistan. We want that Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and other gurdwaras to have ‘khule darshan deedar,” he said.
He added he wanted to tell the House that “we are happy that Corridor is open. Thanks to the collective efforts and these should go on. It shall remain open. Whatever be the concerns, isnu assi kade vi band nahi hon devange (we will never allow it to be closed down).”
Underlining his government’s committment to the Kartarpur Corridor, he said: “Let me make it totally clear that my government’s commitment to opening and continuing operations remains absolute. My government was party to the opening of the corridor. Ministers and officers were party of the various meetings. They worked tirelessly in tandem with the government to India to acquire land and build the infrastructure in record time including security infrastructure, for the launch of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to coincide with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.”
‘Have busted 32 Pak-backed terror groups’
Raising concernes, about the security threat to the bordering state from Pakistan, Amarinder clarified: “There are serious apprehensions of threat to security and people of our country. It is not because the corridor is open but because ‘maari neeti’ of Pakistan government. I want to tell you something. I cannot circulate it in the House because these are classified documents. Nevertheless, it should be understood that Pakistan’s ISI has got one task only. To disturb peace of its neighbours. What problems they have with Iran, Balochistan and Teheran is their business. They have problems with our country especially in Kashmir. Now they have started it with us.”
Corroborating his claims, he said, “In three years what we have achieved through checking their nefarious designs is that we have busted 32 terrorist modules propped up by them. We have arrested 154 terrorists, confiscated 41 rifles, 136 revolvers and pistols, 35 hand grenades including those used in the Nirankari Bhawan attack in Amritsar, 3.5 kg of RDX, two smart phones and Rs 30 lakhs in fake currency.”
Showing pictures of Chinese drones, he said this was pressed by Pakistan into Punjab which was capable of carrying heavy payloads.
“These are the drones which we were able to catch and we do not how many such drones are still there with people of Punjab. There are radical Sikhs in Punjab and several of them in countries abroad. Those NRIs go directly to Kartarpur Sahib. We do not know what they do there and who they meet.”
The CM told the opposition that Punjab had witnessed bloodshed of 35,000 innocent Punjabis and 1700 police personnel and many armymen were martyred. “But these people (the opposition members) were kids during those years. Badal Sahib (former CM Parkash Singh Badal) knows,” he said.
Oppn stages walkout
On the DGP’s apology, Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia said, “Dinkar Gupta has regretted his statement. He has admitted his mistake. We can leave the matter here. But we want to ask: those AK-47s that have been smuggled into India from Pakistan, have they been brought in by the pilgrims from Kartarpur?”
The Speaker intervened at this stage and said, “When the CM has said that anyone can make a mistake then nothing remains to be said.”
After Amarinder’s address to the House, the SAD-BJP and AAP protested in the well of the House demanding reopening of case against Ashu and dismissal of DGP. Later, they staged a walkout as a mark of protest.
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