Punjab Congress leader Kewal Singh Dhillon has lambasted Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for politicizing the issue of the attack on a Muktsar journalist despite the prompt and stern action taken by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in the matter.The Chief Minister had taken suo motu cognizance of the incident based on media reports and had immediately directed senior police officials not only to provide security to the journalist and his family but also to ensure a free and fair investigation, without political bias.The police moved quickly, without any delay, to book the accused in the case, and even ensure free medical treatment for the victim in the civil hospital, Dhillon pointed out, adding that the Chief Minister had made it clear that the law will take it due course and no political pressure or interference would be tolerated in the case.Sukhbir’s allegation of vendetta politics was not only frivolous but, in fact, indicated that the erstwhile SAD government, in which he was deputy chief minister, had patronized the media, along with other institutions and bodies, to further its political interests. The media, as the fourth pillar of the Indian democracy, was expected to be free and neutral but by linking the assault on the Muktsar journalist with politics, Sukhbir had clearly shown that such had not been the case under the Akali government over the past 10 years, said Dhillon.
Sukhbir’s charges were even more ludicrous when seen in the context of his own dealings with the media, which had no freedom to function in a neutral manner under the SAD-BJP regime, Dhillon further said. He pointed to the case of an attack on a Kotkapura journalist in which Sukhbir himself had been an accused and was released on bail by a sessions court in Faridkot, said the PPCC leader.In the circumstances, the high moral ground being taken by Sukhbir was laughable and not worthy of consideration, said Dhillon, adding that the loss of power had clearly dented the Akali leader’s ability to think clearly and coherently. According to Dhillon, Sukhbir’s reaction was triggered by panic in the face of the imminent exposé of his and his government’s misdeeds with the Captain Amarinder government getting ready to release a white paper on the same. The Akalis were also apprehensive about the findings of the Commission set up to inquire into the false cases registered under the Badal regime and also the fresh investigations launched into the various sacrilege cases during their tenure, the PPCC leader added.The flippant charges being made by Sukhbir and other SAD leaders against the Captain Amarinder government were a sign of the fear psychosis under which they were living as a result of the steps initiated to identify their acts of commission and omission, Dhillon further said.