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Cong encouraging secessionists, should be derecognised: Badal

PUNJAB

New Delhi: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today accused Congress of fomenting trouble in Punjab by encouraging secessionist forces. Addressing a press conference here, Badal alleged that Congress leaders shared stage with radical and separatist elements at a recent gathering in Amritsar, where demand for Khalistan was raked up.

Badal, who is the chief of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), also met President Pranab Mukherjee and demanded that action should be taken against Congress and the party should be “derecognised”. He alleged that under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership Congress was trying to create the same environment in Punjab that it suffered during the years of militancy. He said that his government had also written to the Home Ministry regarding the developments in the state.

The role of Congress, he claimed, “had been exposed” as its leaders had attended the gathering in Amritsar on November 10 where “the major demand was for a separate state of Khalistan”. Referring to the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ or Sikh religious congregation, he said they appointed the convict in Beant Singh assassination case as ‘jathedar’ or chief priest.

He alleged that videos on social media show Congress leaders directing separatists about what to say and that they have provided other support for the gathering. Badal also claimed that one of the Congress leaders present Ramanjit Singh Sikki is known to be close to former CM and Congress leader Amarinder Singh.

He said Congress leader Inderjit Singh Zira was also present. “The Congress is trying to distance itself from the congregation.

If they were not part of it, why have they taken no action against Congress leaders who were on stage and provided support,” Badal asked. Rahul Gandhi, he further alleged, went to Punjab and encouraged radical elements at a time when Pakistan’s ISI is already on the lookout to foment trouble in the state and demanded action against the Congress. The President, Badal told reporters, had assured him that the matter will be looked into.

PTI