'Was it religious to raise pro-Khalistan slogans on Nov 10?'

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said the 'Sarbat Khalsa' gathering was not anti-national but the leaders on the stage were.

Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday ridiculed Congress leader Amarinder Singh for his remarks that 'Sarbat Khalsa' congregation was "not political" and asked him whether it was a religious activity to raise slogans of Khalistan at the gathering.

Reacting to a statement issued by Amarinder yesterday that the November 10 congregation was a "religious one and not political or anti-national", Sukhbir said the 'Sarbat Khalsa' gathering was definitely not anti-national but all the leaders occupying the stage were.

"It is these radical leaders, who controlled the stage in league, with the Congress party responsible for defaming the congregation by announcing a separatist agenda. This was not liked by a large number of people who even left the venue in disgust," the SAD president said.

Asserting that Amarinder should correct his definition of anti-national, Sukhbir Badal asked "is the reading out of messages of leaders of banned terrorist organisations religious as you are claiming? Is the demand for an independent Sikh State a religious demand? Is it religious activity to raise slogans of Khalistan and espouse violence to realise this goal?"

Badal said that contrary to what the Amritsar MP was claiming, the series of events had made the Congress' role in organising, supporting and drafting of the resolutions "clear".

"You cannot run away from this in the same manner in which you tried to confuse Punjabis after visiting the Dixie Gurdwara in Toronto.

"Then you claimed you had failed to read the 'Khalistan Zindabad slogans' in the Gurdwara. It is best you apologise for the conduct of your partymen and throw them out of the party or else people will have no option but to believe that you also supported the secessionists," Sukhbir added.

The Akali leader said that the Congress leader was considered the epitome of failure in the Punjab Congress due to the manner in which he had led the party to two successive Assembly election routs.

"I also understand your present day frustration at failing to grab the post of Punjab Congress president despite grovelling at Rahul Gandhi's feet. You could not have debased yourself more after publicly asserting Rahul was unfit to lead the party," he added.

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