Punjab Chief Minister wants action against extremists’ foreign handlers in Canada, other countries

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Amarinder Singh in Amritsar last February.
Photos; Amarinder Singh’s Twitter

PUNJAB Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to prepare a comprehensive strategy to deal with the “re-emergence of extremism” in the state, amid reports that Sikh youths were being trained at ISI facilities in Pakistan, officials said.

The chief minister suggested strengthening of the intelligence apparatus, besides action against foreign handlers based in Canada, the UK, the US, Italy and Germany, who are actively engaged in revival of terrorism in Punjab, according to PTI news agency of India.

During a 30-minute meeting, the chief minister apprised the home minister of the law and order situation in Punjab, including issues related to attempts to create disturbance in the state through targeted killings.

“Amarinder Singh stressed the need for preparing an all-encompassing strategy to counter the emergence of extremism,” a home ministry official said.

The home minister assured the chief minister all possible central assistance as requested by the state government, a spokesperson said.

The Punjab chief minister said a number of targeted killings have taken place over the last one and half years and expressed concern over such incidents.

The chief minister also underlined the need to counter “activities on social media” aimed at disturbing peace and stability in the state.

The spokesperson said Rajnath Singh agreed to look into the state’s demands under the Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) scheme.

Amarinder Singh said that under the MPF, Punjab should be designated a Category-A state for availing financial assistance on a “90:10 Centre-State” sharing basis along the lines of Jammu and Kashmir and eight northeastern states.

The Home Ministry had recently told a parliamentary panel that Sikh youths were being trained at ISI facilities in Pakistan to carry out terror activities in India.

Senior ministry officials also told the Committee on Estimates, headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, that Sikh youths settled in Europe, the US and Canada were being “misguided and instigated against India with false and malicious propaganda”.

The chief minister appreciated the support being provided by the central agencies in probing the targeted killings.

The NIA is investigating these killings, suspected to be carried out as part of a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in the state, another official said.

The chief minister and the home minister also discussed the steps taken to tackle the situation in a coordinated manner, the spokesperson said.