M A I N   N E W S

Farmers violating pact, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that the state may issue orders banning carrying of firearms by civilians to main law and order in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections.

This was indicated by him in response to a question on the Moga incident where BKU (Ekta) activists had reportedly disrupted an election meeting of Congress candidate Arvind Khanna who is contesting from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency. The incident took place at Minia village where, following police action, more than 12 farmers were injured.

The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference hosted by his Media Adviser B.I.S. Chahal at his residence here today.

Capt Amarinder Singh said it was ''unfortunate'' that such an incident had taken place. He went on to say that the BKU had a dozen-odd factions and the Ekta group, comprising mostly Leftists had been creating problems earlier too. He gave examples of the BKU (Ekta) agitations at Misserkhana in Bathinda when a farmer was run over by a train and again of its sit-in strike and dharna at Patiala and later at Manawala in Amritsar where again due to violence a young boy was killed in police firing.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he had had long meetings with BKU factions and explained to them the state's position on their demands, including the fact that he could not announce any steps to mitigate their problems in view of the election code of conduct. ''This Ekta group has pockets of influence in Tarn Taran, Moga and Bathinda and deliberately violates agreements reached with me. Even in the Moga incident, the farmers used firearms and attacked an election meeting. I was immediately informed and the police took the necessary action.''

To a question that Mr Ravi Inder Singh had yesterday demanded that Ms Sonia Gandhi visit the Golden Temple and tender an apology for Operation Bluestar and its aftershocks, the Chief Minister said the Akalis had poor memory. ''As PPCC President, I had taken Ms Gandhi to the Golden Temple where she had prayed.''


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