Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday lambasted the Akalis for their shameless politicisation of the recent attacks on Sikhs and their religious institutions in Pakistan, and their attempt to link the condition of minorities in Pakistan with the unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The Chief Minister came down heavily on the Akalis, particularly Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s abominable bid to use the killing of a Sikh youth and the attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan to carry out her political battle against the Congress. He was referring to Harsimrat’s tweets in which she had sought to promote the CAA in the context of the persecution of minorities in Pakistan, and has attacked him (Captain Amarinder) and the Indian National Congress leadership over their criticism of CAA.
“This is the height of ignorance and stupidity,” said the Chief Minister, reacting to Harsimrat’s tweets. “The CAA, coupled with National Register for Citizens (NCR) is the kind of tool with which minorities in India will be persecuted even more than those in Pakistan are,” he said, adding that it was apparent that the Union Minister had no clue about the implications of CAA or the damage it will cause to India’s secular character, particularly in conjunction NRC.
Captain Amarinder said that the brazen attacks on minorities, including Sikhs, in Pakistan were so appalling as to be indefensible. As if these attacks were not shocking enough, Harsimrat and the rest of the Akali leadership had stooped to a shocking low by using them to defend the CAA and target the Congress party, he added.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at the double-speak of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on the issue of CAA/NRC, pointing out that just days back, Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had said asked for minorities to be included in the purview of the CAA. “Don’t they have any clear stand on the issue?” he asked, adding that these kind of conflicting statements exposed the double standards of the Akalis on this grave issue of national importance.
Making it clear that neither he nor the Congress were against granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs etc being persecuted in other countries, the Chief Minister reiterated his stand against isolation of Muslims and other religions from the CAA cover. There should be no discrimination on religious grounds, he said, adding that nor just Sikhs but other minorities facing persecution elsewhere should be welcome to come and settle in India.
The SAD was clearly playing to the gallery, and hoping to leverage the Pakistani Sikhs issue, to promote their political interests, as was evident from their representation to the External Affairs Minister today, said Captain Amarinder.
Considering that SAD is part of the NDA government at the Centre, it would be more apt for them to put pressure on their alliance partner, the BJP, to be more proactive in handling the situation arising out of the anti-Sikh attacks in Pakistan, the Chief Minister stressed. Further, it would be more in order for the SAD and its alliance partners at the Centre to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the minorities within India, he added.