Amarinder Singh declares ‘war’ on Akalis over ‘chitta ravan’

Chandigarh: Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh today declared a virtual war against the Akali government in the state for its “failure” to transfer the Ludhiana Police Commissioner in the ‘Chitta Ravan’ case, asking the party workers in all the 117 Assembly segments to burn effigies as a mark of protest.

As the Punjab Congress’ siege of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s residence in Chandigarh continued for the second day, he said, “Mark my words, this is just the beginning. We will destroy the chitta and its Ravan in its entirety in Punjab.”

Congress workers had reportedly prepared white Ravan effigies in protest against the sale of heroin (chitta) in Punjab. They had planned to burn them on Dussehra, along with photos of the chief minister and his son (Deputy Chief Minister) Sukhbir Singh Badal, which led to a clash between them and Akali Dal supporters in Ludhiana that left at least 35 people injured.

The police had arrested Punjab Youth Congress secretary Parvinder Singh Lapran on Wednesday in connection with the incident. Alleging police bias and claiming that no case was lodged against the Akali Dal activists, Congress workers have been staging an indefinite protest outside Badal’s residence in Chandigarh since yesterday.

The protesters, including Congress MPs and MLAs, are demanding Ludhiana Police Commissioner Jatinder Aulakh’s transfer and ADCP Jaswinder Singh’s suspension.

Addressing them, Amarinder demanded withdrawal of cases against Congress workers jailed on “fictitious” charges of assaulting Akali Dal activists.

Asking the Akalis why were they so “touchy” about the ‘Chitta Ravan’ issue, the state Congress chief said, “Is it your guilty conscience that gets pricked and causes goosebumps over the very mention of ‘chitta’?”

“By resorting to violence against the burning of the ‘Chitta Ravan’, the Akalis have actually admitted to their guilt of being synonymous with the synthetic drug,” he claimed.

Amarinder said the ‘Chitta Ravan’ was there not only in Ludhiana but all over Punjab, with the “people using it to express their anger against the Badals”.

He claimed that in Amritsar, effigies of the chief minister and his son were burnt during Dussehra celebrations. “If they (the Badals) think they can intimidate and gag the people by abusing their power, they are miserably mistaken,” Amarinder said, adding that it was a matter of “few more months” before the Badals were “forced to run for cover”.