Congress seeks clarification from Canadian minister on Khalistan
Punjab Congress today asked Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan to clarify his stand on Khalistan, a day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would not meet him as he is a "Khalistani sympathiser".
Chandigarh: Punjab Congress today asked Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan to clarify his stand on Khalistan, a day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would not meet him as he is a "Khalistani sympathiser".
"It is important and in the interest of the good and friendly relationship between India and Canada that Sajjan clarifies his stand on this sensitive issue," state Congress leaders and MLAs said in a statement.
They also criticised the Canadian High Commission's statement on the matter.
"It is surprising that the High Commission has preferred to remain quiet on the specific issue that is of serious concern and consequences for the peace-loving Punjabis," they said, alleging that instead of clarifying on the issue, the High Commission has tried to cover it up and put up a vague defence.
The Congress leaders also advised the Akali and Aam Aadmi Party leaders not to try to be more loyal than the king by defending Sajjan when he himself had not denied his association with Khalistani sympathisers and supporters.
Senior Congress leaders and MLAs, including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukh Sarkaria and Navtej Cheema, reiterated that the Canadian Defence Minister and some of his ministerial and parliamentary colleagues had a "known affiliation with anti-India forces".
"Moreover, none of them has denied these charges, while leaders like Sukhbir Badal, Sukhpal Khaira and HS Phoolka have gone overboard in defending them for reasons best known to them," they pointed out, while questioning the intent of these leaders in defending the Canadian lawmakers.
"Or, is it because you go there (Canada) with a begging bowl," they asked Khaira and Phoolka in particular.
The Congress leaders asserted that the chief minister had only reiterated a fact, which Sajjan had not denied himself.
"There is no question of insulting a Punjabi or a Sikh in stating a fact about political leanings and inclinations of a particular leader just because he happens to be a Punjabi or a Sikh," they said and strongly supported Amarinder's stand in refusing to meet Sajjan.
"We need to draw a clear line as Punjab cannot afford to play with fire, which people like Sajjan are stoking and fanning in Canada, that has a dangerous potential to engulf the state and push it back into the dark days.
"This will also send a strong message to everyone that there cannot be any compromise on safeguarding peace and harmony in Punjab," the statement read.