New Delhi, January 10, 2017: Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has expressed grave concern over the reported threat of terrorist and communal violence looming over the state ahead of the Assembly elections and called for President’s Rule to counter the same.
Reacting to the Centre’s missive to the Punjab police to remain alert against possible terror attacks and incidents of religious sacrilege, Captain Amarinder said the situation necessitated immediate preventive measures, including conduct of the polls under central rule.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president said the situation warranted strong and stern measures, and sought the Election Commission’s intervention, with President’s Rule as a step towards normalizing the law and order in the state and securing it from external threats.
The alert issued to the Punjab Police by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was not enough to tackle the danger of violence facing the state, which has already suffered enough at the hands of terrorists as well as its own rulers, said Captain Amarinder.
The Punjab Congress president said notwithstanding the largest deployment of security forces in Punjab, among the five states going to polls next month, it was clear from the MHA directive to the state police that the situation on the ground was extremely sensitive and volatile,
Captain Amarinder pointed to the series of incidents of desecration of religious texts over the past one year, and the recent acts of violence against Dalits as well as others, to underline the enormity of the issue. The Badal government, he said, had been striving to create communal and caste polarization by encouraging such incidents.
According to Captain Amarinder, the Nabha jail break and the more recent Fazilka sub-jail episode in which an election related meeting was being held, also suggest that criminal gangs and armed goondas are working hard to disrupt the poll process by indulging in violence during the elections.
The tensions are being further escalated by reports of a cross-border build-up of terror groups waiting to break into the poll process in Punjab through targeted attacks during election time, said Captain Amarinder.
The PPCC chief called upon people to be cautious against all disruptive and unruly elements and to promptly report any suspicious activity to the police as well as the Election Commission. The EC, on its part, should crack down heavily on all armed gangs, of which an estimated 52 were on the loose in the state as per the last reports, said Captain Amarinder, urging the poll body to initiate immediate steps to bring the state under central rule to prevent outbreak of serious violence in the coming days.