SAD terms CM Tarn Taran visit as a photo op cum joy ride devoid of compassion for poor and dalits

Condemns him for failing to visit victim families and sharing stage with Cong mlas accused of being responsible for the hooch tragedy

SAD leaders accompanied with victim families court arrest while marching to Raj Bhawan

Demand Rs 25 lakh compensation and a govt job to each victim family

Ask Governor to act on SAD-BJP representation submitted yesterday and dismiss Capt Amarinder Singh led Cong govt

Chandigarh, August 7 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today termed chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s visit to Tarn Taran police lines as a mere photo op cum joy ride and condemned him for failing to visit the hooch tragedy victim families besides sharing the stage with Congress legislators who were accused of being responsible for the tragedy.

Talking to newsmen here while demanding immediate dismissal of the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress government during a protest while proceeding towards Raj Bhawan before being arrested, senior SAD leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur and Bikram Singh Majithia said the chief minister made a show of visiting the victim families when the truth was that he paid a twenty minute visit to the police lines in Tarn Taran which were turned into an army Cantonment as the Congress government feared a backlash from the people. “People were summoned to be present like they are in a Durbar due to which a large number of them refused to come despite intense pressure from SPs and DSPs deputed specifically for this purpose. The chief minister also refused to visit Amritsar and Batala – the two other sites of the hooch tragedy making it clear that he was just going through the motions and that poor and dalit lives don’t matter to him”.

The two leaders, who were flanked by relatives of victims from Muchal village in Amritsar, said it was reprehensible that the chief minister made legislators, against whom murder charges should be pressed for being responsible for distributing spurious liquor, sit on the stage. “How can a free and fair inquiry be held into the horrific tragedy if the chief minister is himself shielding the accused in this manner?” the leaders asked. They said instead of humiliating victim families by behaving like a feudal lord the chief minister should have visited them and announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a government job for each family.

Mr Balwinder Bhundur said it was clear to Punjabis that the chief minister was directly responsible for the hooch tragedy as he failed to take action against Congmen and distillery owners indulging in illicit liquor trade. He said even in the aftermath of the horrific hooch tragedy across three districts in the State, the chief minister was refusing to take the required action as minister in charge of Home and Excise portfolios.

Mr Bhundur said since there was no scope of justice from the chief minister, the SAD had come to the Raj Bhawan to ask Governor V P Singh Badnore to take action on the representation submitted to him yesterday by a SAD-BJP delegation led by S Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Manoranjan Kalia. He said the Governor should immediately recommend dismissal of the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress government, order a high court or CBI inquiry into illicit liquor trade, order registration of murder charges against all Congress mlas named by victim families, seal two distilleries involved in the tragedy including that of the family of the chief minister’s Religious Advisor Paramjit Sarna and Congress legislator Rana Gurjit Singh and confiscate all the ill gotten wealth of all those behind the hooch tragedy as well as illicit liquor trade in the State. Mr Bhundur said the Governor should also direct handing over of all files concerning the Rajpura illegal distillery seizure and other similar cases to the Enforcement Directorate.

Mr Bikram Majithia said the State first lost Rs 5,600 crore in excise revenue and had now lost around 150 precious lives besides blinding of several persons. He said the Congress government was trying to divert attention from the real issue by taking action against bootleggers manufacturing country liquor even though it was a fact that denatured spirit procured illegally from distilleries was responsible for the tragedy. EOM

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