Chandigarh, May 4, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal today blasted the senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh for his attempts to hold the Sikhs, especially the devout and innocent Sikh pilgrims guilty of spreading the Coronavirus.
“Coronavirus today is a global issue and Digvijay’s statement will defame the Sikhs all over the world as the originators of the Coronavirus. It is a part of the old anti-Sikh mindset of the Congress party which sees a Sikh behind every evil and every calamity that happens in the world. It is the same mindset with which the Congress had once made the Sikhs targets of global suspicion and hatred as terrorists. Now that there is a global scare on Coronvirus, the Congress has once again tried villainously to put the Sikhs on the global suspicion list. “
“Instead of getting himself filmed on hollow PR videos shedding crocodile tears on pilrims’ suffering, Captain Amarinder Singh should apologise to Punjabis in general and to the Khalsa Panth in particular for tarnishing the image of the whole Sikh community through shocking statements like Digvijay’s and several Punjab ministers against the pilgrims.
Mr Badal said that it would be insane to link the Sikh pilgrims from Nanded Sahib with the spread of Coronavirus even in Punjab. “Everyone knows that the virus is a global issue and that it had already been active in Punjab for more than a month before the pilgrims even started moving towards the state,” said Mr Badal in a statement here this afternoon.
Mr Badal’s onslaught came in the wake of a tweeted reference by Digvijay Singh linking the Sikh pilgrims with the spread of Coronavirus in Punjab. “The government is the villain while the pilgrims are the victims of this villainy,” said Mr Badal, and asked the CM, his government and party to stop demonizing the Nanded Sahib pilgrims for the Coronavirus in Punjab.
Mr Badal stoutly defended his party’s efforts to bring the pilgrims back from Nanded Sahib. “Both personally and as party president of the SAD, I take full responsibility for the decision to demand the return of these pilgrims back to Punjab. Not just the pilgrims, I want every Punjabi beleaguered anywhere in the world to be brought back home. This is being done all over the world. The only thing the government has to do is to follow the medical norms on incoming people.”
Mr Badal said that the SAD and the SGPC have repeatedly declared that they would take full responsibility for looking after the pilgrims and every other Punjabi in every respect in their hour of need, including providing facilities for comfortable quarantine. But instead of accepting our request, the government has been torturing and humiliating the pilgrims and others who have been quarantined infilthy environs.”
Mr Badal also expressed “grave concern over reports of a conspiracy to infect the incoming Naded Sahib pilgrims with the virus on the journey or on arrival as they had been repeatedly tested negative before their departure. He fired a volley of questions at the CM on the government’s “ mysterious refusal to follow its own norms on handling pilgrims.
“ It is mysterious why the government chose to flout its own norms by not testing the pilgrims nor keeping them in safe and comfortable quarantines till the reports of tests had been received before sending them home? Why were government’s own guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on social distancing not followed in the matter of seating arrangements in the buses for the pilgrims?
Why were so few buses sent to bring in such a large number of pilgrims while it was known that only 25 passengers should travel in a bus according to the official guidelines on viral safety ? Why did the government not send doctors to accompany the pilgrims when everyone is aware of the widespread virus?
Why the government preferred policemen over doctors? Were all the staff members, including cops and drivers etc tested negative for coronavirus before they were sent to bring pilgrims? Above all, why were the pilgrims not tested and quarantined on return,” asked Mr Badal.
“ These questions desperately require answers. SAD demands a high level, independent inquiry, preferably by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, into this whole episode. The issue stinks of something shady and mysterious,”