Congress wants Sukhbir Badal booked for sedition

Chandigarh (IANS): The Congress Monday demanded Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal should be booked for sedition for his Shiromani Akali Dal’s decision to hold protests against the Border Security Force (BSF) over the issue of drug smuggling.

“The decision of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to hold four dharnas on the sensitive international border with Pakistan, which is unprecedented and will lead to public disorder and incite violence at the already tense border, is seditious in nature,” state Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa said here.

He noted that while Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah (whose party is part of the state’s ruling coalition) has announced to begin the BJP’s national anti-drug campaign from Amritsar on Jan 12, “Sukhbir has announced a parallel dharna against the brave soldiers of the BSF guarding this sensitive and active border, which is in effect a dharna against the BJP-lead central government”.

The Akali Dal has announced it would hold protests against the BSF at four places along the India-Pakistan international border in Punjab Jan 5. It is demanding that the central government should direct the BSF to curb drugs smuggling from the Afghanistan-Pakistan route into Punjab.

Bajwa said that the BJP and Akali Dal were “indulging in confronting each other to take credit on the drugs issue at the cost of endangering the hard-won peace in this border state”.

Saying that Badal’s move for protests against the BSF was “unprecedented and seditious”, he demanded that the president should dismiss the Akali-BJP government.

“The entire motive of this move is to excite violence and disturb law and order with a clear intention to divert the public’s attention from the complicity of Bikram Majithia and other cabinet ministers in the Rs.6,000 crore drugs scam (busted by Punjab Police last year),” Bajwa alleged.

He termed it a “deliberate attempt” by Sukhbir Badal to deflect attention from the “direct involvement of his own brother-in-law Majithia and senior leaders of his government in the multi-crore synthetic drug racket”. Bajwa also accused Majithia of harbouring international criminals in his official capacity as a minister and providing them “patronage, security and support”.