Says SAD ready for any struggle on this issue, including ‘jail bharo’ stir – Bikram Singh Majithia

Amritsar: Former minister Bikram Singh Majithia today appealed to former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal to collect all like minded opposition parties under one platform to oppose the centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of central forces across nearly half of Punjab.

He also appealed to all village panchayats to rise above party lines and pass resolutions against the decision and demand its immediate withdrawal. The SAD leader also announced that the party was ready for any ‘sangharsh’ to ensure this anti-Punjab decision, which was part of a conspiracy to put Punjab under central rule, was withdrawn. “This could include a ‘jail bharo’ agitation”, the senior leader asserted at a press conference here.

The SAD also condemned chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi as well as Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa for surrendering the rights of the State to the centre. “It is not a coincidence that the chief minister met union home minister Amit Shah on October 5 this month and the anti-Punjab decision was taken nine days later”. Terming the chief minister as totally incompetent, Mr Majitha said the former had tried to wash his hands off the issue with a mere statement instead of opposing the move in concrete terms. He also asserted that home minister Sukhjinder Randhawa had no right to continue in office after this move as it was the second time he had sold off the interests of the State to the centre. “The first time was when Randhawa as Jails minister called for handing over the jails to the CRPF. Now he has proved that he cannot maintain law and order and ensure security to the people of the State”.

Mr Bikram Majithia disclosed that these decisions had been taken after an emergency meeting with office bearers as well as grass root level leaders of ten districts which would be affected by the central government’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) to fifty kilometers from the border with Pakistan. “We have also taken into consideration the sentiments of ordinary Punjabis who are also affronted by this move”, he added.

Asserting that there was no difference between the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi and the present decision, Mr Majithia said “an attempt is being made to create the same conditions to usher in central rule in the State ”. He also highlighted how Mr Narendra Modi had protested a similar decision taken by the then UPA government to increase the jurisdiction of the BSF in Gujarat as an anti-federal decision. “Now Mr Modi is thrusting the same decision which is against the very concept of federalism as well as against the ethos of democracy, on us”.

Meanwhile Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha while speaking on the issue said it was strange that the centre had given powers of search, seizure and arrest to the BSF up to 50 km from the international border instead of tightening vigil along the barbed wire fence. “Smuggling is occurring from across the barbed wire fence and it is here where the BSF needs to concentrate its energies”, he added.

Senior leaders including Anil Joshi, Veer Singh Lopoke, Lakhbir Singh Lohdinangal, Dr Dalbir Singh Verka, Gurpartap Tikka, Talbir Gill, Manjit Singh Jalalusman and Ravikaran Kahlon were also present on the occasion. EOM

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