Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh today met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and raised the issue of getting back blacklisted Sikh youths into the mainstream, while suggesting doing away with the system of making such lists on religious lines.
Singh while accepting the current system was damaging to the psyche of Sikh youth, agreed to consider the Chief Minister’s request to allow at least the descendants of the blacklisted Sikhs to visit India.
Disclosing this here, a spokesperson of the Punjab government said many of such Sikh youth have been blacklisted for several years and are unable to return to India.
“Had a fruitful meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, discussed issues of Sikh blacklists and state security,” Amarinder said after the meeting.
The Punjab chief minister also raised the issue of having a second-line security along the India-Pakistan border, besides speeding up of investigation in the cases of sacrilege in the state that happened during the previous government.
“Have requested Rajnath Singh ji for more BSF forces, second line of defence to strengthen Indo-Pak border, got a positive response,” he said.
He had yesterday raised the issue of blacklisted Sikh youth with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a courtesy call.
He also sought five additional BSF companies to strengthen the India-Pakistan border and also stressed the need to set up a second line of defence.
The BSF deployment was needed to be strengthened on the pattern of Jammu and Kashmir, as against the current one BSF battalion for about 32 kms in Punjab, the Chief Minister stressed, citing the Fidayeen attacks at Dinanagar in 2015 and IAF station Pathankot in 2016 as reasons for force augmentation.
On the issue of the second line of defence, he said it was necessitated by the fact that the Punjab border becomes vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as well as infiltration of terrorists, arms and ammunition, and drugs from across the border in view of the heavy security at the J-K border.
Raising the second line of defence would require immediate funding of about Rs 206 crore in infrastructure, capacity building and manpower, said Amarinder, seeking the Home Minister’s support in financing the same in national interest.
The Chief Minister also urged the Home Ministry to provide necessary funds to meet the recurring annual costs of the 2 IRB Batallions for which it had recently sanctioned Rs 51.19 crore each.
Alleging a serious conspiracy to disrupt the communal harmony in the state, Amarinder also urged the Home Minister to direct CBI and other central agencies to expedite their investigations into the cases of sacrilege and targeted killings in Punjab.
Referring to the targeted killings of RSS, Hindu and Shiv Sena leaders in Punjab since January 2016, the Chief Minister said despite the best efforts and cooperation between CBI, central agencies and the State Police, it has not been possible to identify the group/individuals or apprehend the killers so far.
“Spoke to Rajnath Singh ji about slow probe by CBI etc in Punjab sacrilege and targeted killings cases, he promised to get things expedited,” he said on Twitter.
Considering the recent inputs received from the central agencies that indicate plans of militant/radical organisations/individuals to target RSS Shakhas, DSS Naam Charcha Kendras, religious places, and targeted individuals, Amarinder stressed the need for the various agencies to augment their efforts to solve the pending cases.
Another issue that came for discussion related to security at the high-profile Punjab jails, which have recently witnessed a spare of troublesome incidents, including the Nabha jailbreak, and several cases of gang war.
Noting that many top terrorists lodged in various Punjab jails had a nexus with gangsters in the prisons, the Chief Minister urged Singh to provide additional CISF/CRPF forces to secure the high-profile prisons in the state.