March 24, 2023

On poll eve, Charanjit Singh Channi alleges AAP links with secessionists, Shah promises probe | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a significant development just 36 hours ahead of voting in Punjab, Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday accepted CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s demand for a “comprehensive probe and immediate appropriate action” into AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s alleged links with the secessionist Khalistani outfit, Sikhs for Justice, and appropriate action.
The Congress leader referred to a letter purportedly from SFJ pledging support for AAP as well as the claim of Kumar Vishwas, a one-time close associate of Kejriwal, about the Delhi CM’s “links” with the secessionists.
Shah’s response was swift. “It is utterly condemnable in order to gain power, such people can go to the extent of colluding with secessionists and break apart Punjab and the country. The agenda being pursued by these elements is not different from that of the nation’s enemies. I will personally ensure an in-depth investigation into it,” he replied.
“For a political party to have links with and cooperate with anti-national, secessionist and banned organisations is indeed a very grave matter from the point of view of the country’s unity and integrity. I can assure you that nobody will be allowed to endanger the country’s unity and integrity. The Government of India has taken a very serious view of the matter,” Shah replied to Channi.
Channi’s letter — he wrote to Shah, “I hope you would take appropriate action immediately keeping in view the seriousness of the matter involved as Punjab already suffered heavily due to separatist forces” — and Shah’s prompt response just ahead of the polling injects a new element into what in any case seemed like the most intense elections for Punjab assembly in recent times.
The impact it may have in a state which was ravaged by insurgency and remains a hunting ground of operatives for Pakistan’s ISI trying to stoke secessionism will be interesting to watch. A significant section of the electorate remains wary of the prospects of the return of the violent campaign for Khalistan which claimed thousands of lives through the 1980s and early 1990s.
The Punjab CM’s letter to the Centre seeking its immediate intervention came in the wake of a letter purportedly from Sikhs for Justice dwelling on the Khalistani outfit’s support for AAP.
“The letter is in Punjabi and the language and contents of the letter show that Sikhs for Justice (SFJ ), which is a banned organisation, is in constant touch with the Aam Aadmi Party. It has been mentioned in the letter that SFJ has given its support to AAP in the elections to the state assembly in 2017 and, similarly in these elections, too. The SFJ has exhorted the electorate to vote for AAP,” wrote Channi.
“It is understood that this is a very serious issue of compromising with the security and integrity of the country and thus needs to be thoroughly investigated. I would urge upon you to immediately get this matter investigated for taking appropriate action in this regard,” the Punjab CM further said.
He also referred to the claim of Kumar Vishwas. The poet-turned political activist, whose allegations were referred to by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to corner Kejriwal, stuck to his guns and challenged the Delhi CM to publicly denounce the demand for Khalistan.
Channi’s letter and the Centre’s response marked a divergence from the tension that has marked their ties, with the Punjab CM accusing the Centre of encroaching upon the state’s jurisdiction by enlarging BSF’s jurisdiction. The two governments had also sparred over the security breach during the PM’s visit to Punjab earlier this year.
AAP, which has emerged as a serious claimant for power this year, has been dogged by allegations of being sympathetic to Khalistan votaries, something which, many believe, cost it the 2017 elections it had seemed poised to win.

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