Sukhbir evading responsibility on bluestar memorial: Amarinder

Cong accused Sukhbir Badal of lying and evading responsibility on the issue of setting up Operation Blue Star memorial by SGPC in Amritsar.

Ludhiana: Ridiculing Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal`s statement that the government had nothing to do with the Operation Bluestar memorial being set up by SGPC in Amritsar, Congress on Thursday lashed out at him, accusing him of lying and evading responsibility on the issue.

"If that be the case both Sukhbir and his father should explain their position on the memorial and Balwant Singh Rajoana whom they have declared the Zinda Shaheed (living martyr)," State Congress President, Amarinder Singh told reporters.

Amarinder said, it was typical of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to be running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.

He alleged that Badal Sr`s double standards were exposed as on the one hand he had given his "approval" to setting up the memorial and was maintaining silence on the issue on the other while his son (Sukhbir) was trying to run away from the issue.

"Who does not know that the SGPC and Akal Takht are controlled by the Badals only," he said, while asking, "is it possible that the SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar will do anything without their (the Badals?) knowledge."

Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also President of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, had distanced himself from the construction of the memorial at Amritsar telling reporters here yesterday that the state government had nothing to do with the project.

The Sikh high priests had yesterday bestowed the title of "Zinda Shaheed" at Amritsar on Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Operation Bluestar at the Akal Takht, supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs.

The memorial is being set up in the memory of those killed at the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar, a military operation ordered by the Indira Gandhi government to flush out Sikh separatists allegedly using the complex as a hideout.

Alleging clear designs behind the move, Amarinder said, "It is characteristic style of Badal (Sr) to create controlled-destabilization in the state to retain his relevance in some way or the other. Otherwise what is the logic of setting up a memorial after 28 years," he asked.

He reiterated his question to the BJP, ally of the SAD, as why had the party maintained a silence on the issue or whether the party had submitted to the Akali agenda.

"I am surprised as to why the BJP is silent on the issue," he remarked.

Capt Amarinder said, the Operation Bluestar was a tragic event which he had also not approved of and he had resigned from the party then in protest.

"But that does not mean we keep on raking up the issue time and again for narrow partisan and selfish purpose", he observed, while adding Punjab needs to move forward and not backward as Akalis are trying to do.

Reiterating that Rajoana was a "terrorist" who had killed Beant Singh, he condemned the Akalis for "glorifying and making a hero out of him".

He clarified that he had opposed only his death penalty as personally he was against capital punishment.

"He (Rajoana) is a killer and he should be treated as such and not as a hero as Akalis are trying to make him for vested interests only," he asserted.

Capt Amarinder was also accompanied by local MP and Congress spokesman, Manish Tewari, Congress Legislative Party leader Sunil Jakhar and other leaders from the State.