New Delhi, July 18
SAD (Amritsar) president and Sangrur MP Simranjit Singh Mann on Monday defended his recent remark calling freedom fighter Bhagat Singh a "terrorist", and also said “there should be a separate country for Sikhs”.
Mann, who was elected to Lok Sabha from Punjab's Sangrur in last month's bypolls, took oath in Speaker Om Birla's chamber in the name of the Constitution and vowed commitment to the integrity of the country.
Several Congress members from Punjab opposed Mann taking oath in the Speaker's office. Three other new members were administered the oath in the Lok Sabha chamber.
Mann said he requested the Speaker to make him a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Defence.
Talking to reporters after coming out of Parliament, Mann defended his controversial remarks on Bhagat Singh.
“Bhagat Singh had killed a young, English naval officer. He had killed an Amritdhari Sikh constable. What would you call a person who hurled a bomb on Parliament? Tell me what would you call him?” Mann retorted when reporters asked him about his statement.
The SAD (Amritsar) president further Mann said he continues to support the issue of Khalistan. “There should be a separate country for Sikhs. And Khalistan would act as a buffer state between two nuclear nations India and Pakistan.” Asked why he is talking about a separate Sikh country while also pledging to protect the integrity of India, he said, “You are trying to corner me over this, but what would you say about what is happening in Ladakh region? What is China doing there?” Mann recently won the bypoll from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann's home turf of Sangrur. He had dedicated his victory to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
At a press conference in Karnal on July 15, reporters had questioned Mann about an earlier instance where he had used the same term for Bhagat Singh.
In response, Mann had said, “Sardar Bhagat Singh had killed a young English officer, he had killed an Amritdhari Sikh constable, Channan Singh...He had hurled a bomb into the National Assembly at that time. Now, you tell me whether Bhagat Singh was a terrorist or not.”
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