Punjab Oppn Parties Caution AAP to ‘Sensitively Deal’ with Pro-Khalistan Supporters ‘Misled’ by Amritpal

Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee

Last Updated: March 20, 2023, 21:44 IST

After the attack on the Ajnala police station, the opposition had demanded Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann’s resignation for mishandling the law and order situation in the state. (Image: PTI/File)

In wake of a police crackdown on Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh and subsequent arrests, opposition parties in Punjab criticised Bhagwant Mann-led government for siding with Centre and trying to “defame” Punjabi youth

Punjab’s opposition parties are now asking the Bhagwant Mann-led government to “sensitively deal with” pro-Khalistan sympathisers and supporters, who it seems were “misled” by radical leader Amritpal Singh’s rhetoric.

These political parties are now adopting a cautious approach in wake of a police crackdown on Amritpal and the subsequent arrests of some of his aides and supporters. Some of them criticised the AAP government siding with the central government on “action taken” while others accused it of trying to “defame” Punjabi youth.

“While we do support the action against Amritpal, we want the state government to be cautious while dealing with youngsters misled into believing that Amritpal stood for a just cause. We have to ensure that they don’t lose faith in the mainstream; and the government should deal with such youngsters with much more sensitivity. But this doesn’t mean leniency for Amritpal and those being aided by extremists,” said Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.

After the attack on the Ajnala police station, led by Amritpal’s supporters and the alleged police inaction in the matter, the opposition went to town demanding Mann’s resignation for alleged mishandling of the law and order situation in the state, and a crackdown on his network. The opposition had carried out a joint onslaught on the AAP government, accusing it of taking the issue lightly.

With a crackdown in the last 48 hours, Amritpal on the run and over 100 arrests, the opposition is still targeting the state government. Senior Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira tweeted, “I’m saddened that @BhagwantMann has turned Punjab into a police state rendering himself as a total incompetent & inefficient Cm! He’s leaving our Sikh youth at d mercy of center to be charged under draconian laws like UAPA & flown to far off states for which he should be ashamed.” (sic)

The Shiromani Akali Dal, too, had raised a hue and cry over the state government’s alleged inaction after the Ajnala incident and is now cautioning the government asking it not to “defame” Punjab. It also called the government’s handling of the whole incident and arrests as an attempt to defame Punjabi youth.

“The SAD strongly condemns the puppet AAP regime in Punjab for the undeclared emergency and reign of repression and terror let loose in the state. We warn the government against dangerous conspiracies to defame the most patriotic Sikh community for communal polarisation and electoral gains,” tweeted SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

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