“1,000 People” Do Not Represent Punjab”: Bhagwant Mann On Amritsar Clashes
In the firing line of Opposition in the wake of the violence at Ajnala in Amritsar district, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann sought to dispel fears of a deteriorating law and order situation claiming the clashes were an attempt by neighbouring Pakistan to stoke tensions and disturb peace in the border state.
Speaking at a press conference in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday, the Punjab chief minister said “1,000 people” (followers of alleged Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh, who besieged the Ajnala police station to free a jailed fellow member of radical outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’) do not represent Punjab, adding that they were funded by Pakistan in a bid to disturb peace in the state.
Mr Mann’s remarks came after thousands of followers of the alleged pro-Khalistan outfit forcefully entered the Ajnala police station, flashing swords and high-calibre firearms, on February 23, threatening the police with dire consequences if they did not release Lovepreet Toofan, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting and abducting a man.
On alleged pro-Khalistan slogans being raised and the deteriorating law and order situation in his state, Mr Mann said, “Do you consider 1,000 people as representing the entire Punjab? Come to Punjab and see who are raising such slogans. It’s just a few people funded by foreign powers, especially Pakistan. Rajasthan shares a bigger boundary with Pakistan than Punjab. Why aren’t drones (from Pakistan) sent there? Why are they all coming to Punjab? Their handlers want to disturb peace in Punjab.”
He stressed peace prevails in Punjab and his government was driving the state towards development.
“Punjab will not be disturbed. There is peace in the state. The Punjab government is taking the state towards progress,” the CM said.
However, former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on February 23, expressed grave concern over the Ajnala incident.
“This is not just a complete collapse of the law and order situation in Punjab, but more serious than that,” Capt Amarinder said earlier, pointing out that the incident has serious security implications for the state and the country.
A day after the clashes, Mr Mann, on February 24, claimed that the law and order situation was under control.
Punjab’s Director General of Police, Gaurav Yadav, said earlier appropriate action will be taken against the people involved in the violence.
“As far as yesterday’s incident is concerned, appropriate action will be taken. The video footage is being analysed. The SP was injured and was administered 11 stitches. Five other Police personnel were also injured. Their statement will be recorded and further legal action will be taken,” the DGP said on February 24.
Terming the attack on policemen as cowardly, the DGP added, “Police worked with utmost restraint considering the sanctity of the Guru Granth Sahib. An attack on the police in the cover of the Guru Granth Sahib was an act of cowardice.”