Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has charged the Badal government with connivance in the Nabha jail break, saying the Khalistani terrorist and other dreaded gangsters had been deliberately freed from prison for use by the Akalis during the Assembly elections.Alleging that the brazen daylight jail break would not have been possible with government complicity, Captain Amarinder said the Badal-led Akalis were setting the stage for large-scale violence, even terror attacks, in the state ahead of the polls.Captain Amarinder said he and his party had already raised the issue of complete law and order breakdown in the state, with apprehensions of violence, with the Election Commission, which was working on creating a favourable environment for free and fair polls.He reiterated his demand for President’s rule in the state, saying that with 52 criminal gangs active in Punjab, as per the DGP’s own admission, it was clear that the Badal-led Akalis were hell-bent on destroying peace in Punjab to win the elections, he said. The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) dismissed the suspension of jail officials by the Badal government in the wake of the jail break as mere eyewash, aimed at befooling the people. He also expressed grief at the reported killing of a woman in firing by the police at a picket set up to chase the absconded gangsters. “As usual, it was the innocent who were suffering while the real culprits had escaped,” he added.
The jail break had triggered fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the Assembly elections, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the shocking brazenness with which armed gangsters in police fatigues walked into the high-security jail and freed dreaded Khalistani terrorist Harminder Singh Mintoo, along with other convicts, clearly showed complicity at the highest levels.Captain Amarinder said the law and order situation in the state had deteriorated to unprecedented levels under the Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls, which could not be conducted in a free and fair manner under the current dispensation.Expressing fears of revival of terrorism and other incidents of violence ahead of the polls, he said Khalistani terrorists were being fed across the border, in Lahore, by the Pakistani government, while the Badal government was playing into their hands by allowing hardcore terrorists to walk effortlessly out of high-security prisons.
Captain Amarinder said such incidents were not only detrimental to Punjab’s interests but also lower the morale of the police, which has been completely politicized under the Badal rule. He demanded beefing up of security across the state to prevent recurrence of such incidents and strong measures to catch Mintoo and the others gangsters.The Punjab Congress chief, who received an overwhelming welcome as his convoy travelled through various parts of Sangrur, followed by Dhuri and Mehal Kalan, said all 117 candidates for the party for the coming state Assembly elections will be announced in the first week of December.Captain Amarinder dismissed AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s charges of Swiss bank accounts against his family members as the rantings of an idiot, who does not think before speaking. Asked about Kejriwal’s Dalit deputy CM promise, the Punjab Congress chief said it was yet another of the AAP leader’s fake promises and urged him to first clear the air on chief ministership before talking of the deputy chief minister. The Congress, he said, had always looked out for the interests of the Dalits and would continue to do so.Questioning the prime minister’s silence on the SYL issue, he said Narendra Modi’s statement on the Indus Water Treaty was nothing but electoral posturing since international treaties could be simply absolved in such a manner.In response to a query on demonetisation, Captain Amarinder said the sufferings of the people told their own story and no excuse or justification from the prime minister could negate those sufferings, and in some cases even death.