Rajya Sabha MP wants surrender policy extended to Punjab
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 22:40
New Delhi: An independent Rajya Sabha MP has suggested the government to extend its new surrender policy in Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab, saying several of those from the Sikh community who crossed borders after Operation Blue Star are willing to come back and settle down peacefully in India.

In a letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram, Tarlochan Singh welcomed the steps being taken by the Centre to "normalise the situation in Kashmir" but wondered why it is "hesitant to provide the same facilities (general amnesty) to the Sikh youth who crossed borders in the wake of disturbances in Punjab after Operation Blue Star in 1984.

"Many Sikh youth from Kashmir also took part in our agitation and are now living in Pakistan and other countries ... they are willing to come back and settle peacefully in India," he said.

Singh said the "general amnesty scheme" has been earlier offered to many extremist groups in north-eastern states but "we are sorry to observe that Sikh minority community is not getting its due for the reasons best known to the government."

"I hoped the new policy on Kashmir will be extended to Punjab also...Government should not discriminate on the basis of religion and should be liberal towards Sikh demands also," Singh said underlining that Punjab is now "back to normal".

In his letter to the Home Minister, Singh claimed that hundreds of applications for visas from the Sikh community were pending in various Indian embassies to facilitate their visit to Amritsar for pilgrimage. "We fail to understand why the government is not showing positive response whenever a demand is put up to solve the Sikh issues," he claimed.


First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 22:40

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