Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal today reiterated his party’s commitment to “a strong and federal India with more powers to states” so that they can grow with dignity and progress as per the unique requirements and aptitude of their people. “We believe strong states mean strong country. But we want these powers for all states, not just one or two which is discriminatory.”
He said that his party wanted that minorities in every state must be guaranteed a secure environment in which they can live and prosper in an atmosphere fear from fear and mistrust.
“The SAD stands for provisions for the protection of minorities in every state.”He bemoaned that the Sikhs who had to leave the Kashmir valley in the wake of terrorism there never received due compensation and relief despite his persistent requests and efforts.
The SAD president further said that his party saw no justification for the application of any discriminatory provisions to any state, such as Article 370 in J and K and similar provisions in other states. “Every Indian can rightly buy land or set up a business or industrial units in Punjab.
But we cannot do the same in Himachal Pradesh, Rajsthan and several other states. This amounts to a denial of a level playing field within the country and it should be ended. He said that it was so sad and unfortunate that when the SAD requested the then state government in J and K to implement the Anand Marriage Act in the valley they refused point-blank. I hope it will now be implemented.”
Endorsing the Jammu and Kashmir Bill which will scrap the controversial Article 370 and 35 A of the Constitution, Mr Badal said that his party stood for equal rights and opportunities in every sphere to every state without discrimination.
Mr Badal called the bill on J&K a very courageous step & asked the PM & the home minister to show the same courageous vision in ensuring justice for Punjab Mr Badal called the bill on J&K a very courageous step & asked the PM & the home minister to show the same courageous vision in ensuring justice for Punjab.”
Punjab has beensuffered grievous blows because of discrimination and injustice in economic, geographical, and religious fields,” said Mr Badal. ”Punjabis in general and the SIkhs led by the SAD, in particular, havemade supreme sacrifices for the freedom and the unity and integrity of the country.
Before 1947, the British proposed the partition of India into three parts – for the Hindus, the Muslims and the Sikhs. But we the Sikhs rejected that and firmly decided that India is our homeland.We are proud of our patriotism.”
Mr Badal thanked Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Mr Amit Shah for taking steps because of which the victims of the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs have finally begun to get justice. He said that the massacre was ordered by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who even justified it by comparing it with the shaking fo the earth after a big tree falls.”
It took 34 years for the killers to be punished, and even then the process has only just begun.” The former Deputy Chief Minister said that every Punjab “felt anguished and alienated because of the denial of their capital city, Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas to the state.
Similarly, more than 80 per cent of its river water has been looted from Punjab in violation of the nationally and internationally accepted Riparian Principle. The economic blow suffered by the people especially the farmers of the state because of the denial of their rightful share in the river waters alone runs into thousands of crores.
Similarly, we have been discriminated against through the denial of any major central industrial project in the state. All these excesses and acts of injustice need to be ended and Punjabis need to be compensated for the losses already suffered by them,” said Mr Badal.