Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched a scathing attack on BJP national and state leaders parroting Adityanath Yogi’s provocative statement on Malerkotla, warning that their blatant attempts to drive a communal wedge among the peace-loving Punjabis will backfire on them.
The BJP leaders were trying to light the bomb of communal hatred in Punjab, which will blow up in their faces, said Captain Amarinder, lashing out at them for blindly jumping to the defence of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who, in any case, “is hell bent upon destroying his own state, which is reeling under total lawlessness, communal and caste divisions, and lack of governance, along with insensitive handling of the Covid situation by a government which files criminal cases against those pleading for help to save their loved ones.”
“The Constituent Assembly under the chairmanship of Dr BR Ambedkar made us as a secular democracy and all that Yogi is achieving is destroying the secular fabric of the country,” slammed the Chief Minister. The BJP had systemically tried to destroy the secular fabric of the nation, with its blatantly genocidal and communal policies and politics, he said, citing the CAA as well as its recent attempts to communalise the peaceful agitation of the farmers, who are still fighting for their lives and livelihood.
Pointing to BJP’s gory history of spreading communal hatred and violence across the country, from Gujarat in 2002 to West Bengal in 2021, Captain Amarinder said that even in the 1984 Delhi riots, he had personally seen complaints filed against 22 BJP supporters, who had fuelled the violence, at Tughlak Road Police Station. In Punjab too, the cases of sacrilege that sought to disturb the state’s peace and harmony took place under the watch of the BJP, which was then in power in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, he observed.
The Chief Minister said as far as Yogi’s UP is concerned, media reports quoting a statement in the Lok Sabha in December 2018 by the union minister of state for home affairs showed that in comparison with 2014, the number of incidents of communal violence in the country was 32% higher in 2017. There were a total of 195 incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh, of the total 822 incidents in India, in 2017, in which 44 people died and 542 people were injured, as per the reports, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the situation has since only worsened.
Contrasting this with his state, the Chief Minister said Punjab’s history is one of Unity of All Communities. “From the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh or in our cis-Sutlej States there was never ever any communal tension. In fact, many of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Ministers were Muslims and Hindus. Faquir Azizud-din and his brothers, Nurud-din and Imamud-din were Ministers in Ranjit Singh’s court. His Commander-in-Chief was a Hindu, Dewan Mohkam Chand; his artillery was also manned by Muslims and no other community was part of his artillery,” he pointed out. Recalling his own father’s time, Captain Amarinder said the then Prime Minister of Patiala was a Muslim, Nawab Liyakat Hayat Khan, while the Revenue Minister was a Kashmiri, Raja Daya Kishan Kaul and the Finance Minister was a British citizen, Mr Gauntlet. Sardar Panikar (South Indian), who later became Ambassador of India to China and Mr Raina, who was related to the Nehru family were also Ministers. “The emphasis was then on capability, not of religion, and so it remains till date,” said the Chief Minister, adding that his and his government’s secular credentials did not need the BJP’s validation. Calling upon “my BJP friends to learn Punjab’s history before supporting a foolish statement of Yogi”, the Chief Minister asked them not to forget that even in the 1965 war it was CQMH Abdul Hamid who laid his life in Assal Uttar to save Punjab, for which he was given the Param Vir Chakra.”
As for Malerkotla, said the Chief Minister, it was evident that the BJP leaders do not know that it was the Nawab of Malerkotla, Sher Mohammed Khan, who stood up and opposed the then Governor of Sirhind, who was bricking alive the younger sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
“If any of you want to know the greater history of Punjab, please let me know. I will send you some books on the subject,” quipped Captain Amarinder, taking a dig at the BJP leaders who have been issuing statements criticising Malerkotla’s declaration as a district, which he termed as “long overdue.” “I had made this commitment during my last tenure as CM in 2002-2007, and unlike the BJP, I believe in fulfilling my promises to my people,” he added.