Sunday, June 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NDA team to assess Punjab situation
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15
The BJP-led NDA government will send a team to Punjab shortly to make an on-the-spot assessment of the general law and order situation in the state and whether there has been a dangerous rise in political violence and vendetta.

This assurance was given to SAD chief and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal when he called on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here today and submitted an exhaustive memorandum about the alleged breakdown of the constitutional and administrative machinery in the state.

Union Home Minister L.K. Advani, who was also present at the meeting, assured Mr Badal that the Centre “is keeping a close watch” on the happenings in Punjab under the Congress regime headed by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Advani explained that the Centre would make its own assessment and take “corrective measures wherever necessary.”

The memorandum seeks among other things that the Centre issue a warning to Capt Amarinder Singh and a special discussion is held during next month’s monsoon session of Parliament on the prevailing atmosphere of “lawlessness and breakdown of the constitutional machinery” in Punjab.

On the alleged spurt of political violence in Punjab, Mr Advani was non-committal about instituting a formal inquiry or the Centre intervening at this juncture. Mr Badal has demanded an inquiry through an independent agency to get to the bottom of the “reign of terror unleashed by the Amarinder Singh government.”

Mr Badal, who was accompanied by former ministerial colleagues and legislators of the SAD and the BJP, apprised the Central leaders of the prevailing law and order situation in Punjab which he claimed had also been endorsed by the state’s Director-General of Police.

He said the situation in Punjab had taken a grim turn with political violence and a sustained and systematic state repression seizing the centre-stage. As the state was no longer being governed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, “Punjab is in chaos.”

During the meeting lasting 90 minutes, the SAD chief drew Mr Vajpayee’s attention to what he described as the atmosphere of “dangerous confrontation, bitterness and explosive social tensions now prevailing in Punjab. A reign of terror had been unleased” by the Congress government.


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