Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 19
Senior Congress leader and former Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari has urged the Centre and Punjab to work closely for maintaining peace in the state, describing Sunday’s blasts in Amritsar as the Pakistan ISI’s attempt to reactivate the Khalistan file.
As someone who lost his father to militancy in Punjab, Tewari said, “The state government and the people of Punjab must walk that extra mile to guard peace because what has happened today is definitely the ISI and Pakistan’s act. It shows Punjab is in their crosshairs again.”
The former minister drew linkages between Sunday’s attack on a Nirankari congregation near Amritsar to the first Akali-Nirankari clashes of April 13, 1978 in Amritsar. The 1978 clash that led to the killing of 13 Sikhs and three Nirankaris is widely believed to have laid the foundations of militancy in the state.
“It all started on April 13, 1978 like this. The ISI has activated its Khalistan file again. The US which is looking to get out from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region wants Pakistan to rein in the conjoined terror groups operating in both Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has started clamping down on these groups in Afghanistan but doesn’t want the proxy war in India to end. It is becoming increasingly clear that Punjab which was off the radar of Pakistan for nearly three decades is back in its crosshairs. The recent terror attacks in Gurdaspur, Pathankot and now Amritsar are the ISI gameplan. We must watch out,” said Tewari, urging Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh with a Twitter appeal, “We must protect our peace.”
The former minister while pointing to the recent campaigns around the Sikh Referendum said these incidents are part of a pattern and not isolated.
He recalled the 1978 Akali-Nirankari clashes and how it all began with the radicals targeting religious sects first and then the Hindus with the 1981 assassination of former Punjab minister and MP Lala Jagat Narain, a hugely popular leader.
On August 31, 1995, then Punjab CM Beant Singh was killed. “The reason why events like the Sikh Referendum and other activities are back is because Pakistan is under pressure from the US to control the terror groups in Afghanistan. So while doing this to address its financial challenges, Pakistan wants to keep nurturing its proxies in India. The grenade attack on the Nirankari assembly in Amritsar is straight out of the ISI playbook,” Tewari said, referring also to the recent killings of RSS and Hindu outfit leaders in the state.
Last year, RSS leader Ravinder Gosain and another Hindu outfit leader Vipan Sharma were killed in Ludhiana.
Rahul condemns attack
Rahul Gandhi said on Facebook: “I have been deeply anguished by the attacks in Amritsar. These are condemnable. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of victims.”
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