(Dr Daljit S Cheema asks govt to come clean on reasons for arrest of hundreds of Sikh youth)
(Legal Cell discloses it has secured bail for 46 youth)
Chandigarh, March 27 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had become a party to defaming Punjab and Punjabis and playing politics of polarization in league with the centre to hide its failures on all fronts, even as it asked the government to come clean on the reasons for arrest of hundreds of Sikh youth.
Addressing a press conference here, senior leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema along with party legal wing president Arshdeep Singh Kler said it was incumbent for chief minister Bhagwant Mann to tell why scores of para military forces were used to project that a war was being waged against the country but the contours of the conspiracy had not been outlined till now. “It seems a deliberate attempt is being made to recreate the atmosphere of the 1980’s”, he added.
Giving details, Dr Daljit Cheema said the government had disclosed that a total of 353 persons had been arrested and that 197 out of these had been let off. “The government has also indicated that there is nothing incriminating against 156 more persons and that only 40 persons had serious cases pending against them”. He said the government must tell what it had found out, adding “as of now what has been revealed are only cases under the Arms Act”.
Asking the government not to engage in a defamation exercise of Punjab and Punjabis, Dr Cheema said “the State is already witnessing a flight of industry. We have witnessed open gang warfare besides constant cases of extortions and kidnappings. Even sensitive cases like the Sidhu Moosewala murder remain unresolved. Instead of resolving these issues, the government is creating hype over separatism to hide its failures”. He said the truth had been revealed by the Haryana home minister who disclosed that the Punjab Police did not reach Shahabad for one and a half days despite credible information of his whereabouts. He said even though the Punjab Police had failed in its job, the Haryana Police should have acted appropriately but also failed in this regard.
Meanwhile Legal Cell President Arshdeep Kler disclosed that the AAP government was wrongly claiming that 197 persons had been let off while the truth was that they had been bailed out despite hurdles created by the government. He said the SAD Legal Cell was responsible for bailing out 46 youth including students and was also assiduously following up cases of other youth also. Mr Kler also disclosed that most of the youth had been arrested for sharing emotional posts on social media or charges like attending a ‘diwan’ which was condemnable. He demanded that cases against all 197 youth, which were still pending, be withdrawn.
Meanwhile the SAD also condemned suppression of the voice of the media, saying the AAP government was proceeding against media and media persons who it wanted to silence in the garb of nationalism. Dr Cheema also condemned the replacement of the picture of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh with that of the chief minister at the martyr’s native village in Khatkar Kalan. He also condemned the government for making a ten bedded hospital at Khatkar Kalan into a Mohalla Clinic.