Punjab govt should take memorial issue seriously: Shinde
Attari: Amid opposition to setting up of a controversial Operation Blue Star Memorial, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Sunday said Punjab government must "self-introspect" in the light of dark days of militancy the state has suffered and take the matter seriously.
"Punjab has gone through days of terrorism and in view of this, the Punjab government must do self-introspection before taking a decision on the memorial," he told reporters here.
"Government should take the matter seriously," he said when asked about fears that the memorial would "embolden" the extremists and could lead to revival of militancy in the state.
Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) is constructing the memorial on the premises of Golden temple in the memory of those killed during 'Operation Blue Star' launched by the Army in 1984 to flush out militants from the shrine.
Punjab Congress had opposed the setting up of the memorial with its chief Amarinder Singh demanding stopping of construction alleging it would stoke violence similar to the London attack on Lt Gen (retd) KS Brar who had led Operation Blue Star.
Brar, who holds strong views against the memorial coming up in the Golden Temple, the most sacred of Sikh shrines, has warned it would become a rallying point for "future terrorists".
"They (the terrorists and pro-Khalistan forces) will be emboldened by this action. What about soldiers who fight for the country, who keep the country strong? I am sure the Centre will not approve of this memorial," he had said.
The BJP, an ally of ruling Akali Dal in Punjab, too has opposed the setting up of the memorial.
Shinde, who was on his first visit to Punjab as Home Minister, also inspected the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Indo-Pak Attari/Wagah international border here.
He assessed the situation along borders and developmental works at ICP, officials said.
During his visit, he interacted with the traders on problems being faced by them in cross-border trade and assured them that these would be resolved soon.
Shinde said that trade between India and Pakistan would be enhanced with the improvement of modern infrastructure at ICP Attari border.