Chandigarh:Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has refused to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan on his upcoming visit to India on Friday dubbed criticism by opponents as misleading propaganda.
“The reactions showed that these organisations, including the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), were completely lacking in national pride,” he claimed.
The chief minister said that the state government regularly tracked and monitored the activities of ‘Khalistani’ sympathisers and others having any links to extremist forces inimical to India. “Our assessments and decisions are based on these reports”, Amarinder said.
The chief minister reiterated that while he was ready to provide security and protocol treatment to Sajjan, during his proposed visit to India later this month, there was no question of him meeting the Canadian minister.
The Punjab chief minister said that the security and protocol treatment to be provided to Sajjan, when he visits Punjab, will be at par with what would be accorded to the Indian defence minister on a visit to Canada.
“It will be neither more nor less, while keeping in view the threat perceptions against Sajjan”, the Chief Minister added. Captain Amarinder also came down heavily on the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) for their criticism of his stance, saying the religious body, which claims to protect the interests of Sikhs and the ethos of Sikhism, seemed to have forgotten the treatment meted out to its leaders by hardliners in Canada.
“Do they have no sense of pride?,” he asked, adding that those opposing his principled stand on the issue were encouraging Khalistani sympathizers, thus fanning the possibility of the revival of Sikh extremism.
Countering SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal’s statement dubbing him as “anti-Sikh”, the Chief Minister said the the opposition party leader was trying to mislead the people through propaganda.