The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to take prompt action against Local Bodies minister Navjot Sidhu for insulting the nation and the national flag by allowing several Congress leaders to take part in the ceremonial guard of honour inspection during the Independence Day celebrations in Ferozepur.In a statement here, former minister and SAD spokesperson Maheshinder Singh Grewal said this was a fit case for taking action against the Congress minister as he was yet to apologize and express remorse for breaching the sanctity of a solemn occasion. “Dealing with Sidhu with a heavy hand has also become a matter of urgency because an insidious attempt is being made to shift responsibility to a hapless police inspector”, he added.Stating that the serious insult to national pride occurred solely due to Navjot Sidhu, the Akali leader said the Local Bodies minister took the four Congress leaders along with him to the parade ground after alighting from the stage. He said the minister was insistent that the Congress leaders accompany him while inspecting the guard of honour and this was why the police officers, including the DSP and the SSP, did not stop them from hopping on to the inspection vehicle and crowding it.Mr Grewal said Sidhu’s collusion in this brazen and indefensible disrespect to the national flag was proved from the fact that he did not at any moment try to stop the Congress leaders from stepping onto the inspection vehicle.
“Sidhu did not even reproach the Congress leaders for this serious breach of protocol and security even after the function and niether did he recommend police action against them. He has not expressed remorse for the incident even three days after it occurred. All this shows he was a willing accomplice and also the primary instigator due to whom the incident occurred in the first place. This warrants immediate action against him, including removal from the council of ministers”, he added.Asserting that the Congress government should not search for scapegoats to shift the blame from Sidhu, the Akali leader said the blame should be given where it was due. “In this case it is unreservedly Navjot Sidhu who is at fault. Any attempt to close this case by taking action against a few police officials would be an eye wash and a mockery of justice”, he added.Meanwhile Mr Grewal also asked the chief minister to circulate rules of conduct on national functions to all ministers so that such despicable acts did not reoccur. He said earlier also Sidhu had breached protocol and marred the grace of the swearing in ceremony of new council of ministers by walking away from the stage without shaking hands with the honorable Governor. “He had to be called back and reminded to do this”, the Akali leader said while urging the chief minister not to show any laxity in dealing with Sidhu this time. “Stern action should be taken against him to set an example for all elected representatives so that a clear message is sent across the board that governance is not a laughter challenge or comedy circus”, the Akali leader added.