Chandigarh, June 16 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday slammed AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira for backing secessionism with his categorical support for Sikh Referendum 2020, propounded by Sikh radicals for the creation of Khalistan.
In a statement here, he termed Khaira’s statement favouring the referendum as unfortunate, adding that the Leader of the Opposition seemed to be indulging in his usual political antics and theatrics, without any sense of the state’s history or any realisation of the possible consequences of his act.
Punjab and its people had suffered for years due to the secessionist and separatist movement unleashed by the radicals, pointed out Amarinder Singh, adding that Khaira seemed to be completely unmindful of what the state had been through and the dangers of his ill-thought out statement.
He dismissed as sheer hypocrisy the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s claim that he stood for India’s unity while supporting the referendum, terming it a classic case of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.
Anyone supporting the controversial referendum, which was clearly designed to destroy India’s harmony, could not be a supporter of the country’s unity, he said, adding that Khaira’s stand suggested that he stood for India’s dismemberment.
The Chief Minister demanded to know whether Khaira’s statement had the backing of the AAP central leadership, led by Arvind Kejriwal, or he was going off on a personal tangent, either out of sheer ignorance or to promote some vested personal interests.
This was important considering that Kejriwal himself had been hobnobbing with pro-Khalistanis when he was campaigning in Punjab ahead of the assembly elections last year, he added.
The AAP leadership should clarify their stand on this sensitive and explosive issue, which had the potential to destroy India’s peace and plunge Punjab back into the dark days of terrorism, said Amarinder Singh, demanding to know from Kejriwal and his party colleagues whether or not they stood for peace and upheld the Indian Constitution.