Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Sunday it was for those constructing an “Operation Blue Star” memorial on the precincts of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to ask themselves whether it would lead to a revival of violence in Punjab. The Minister said the State had paid a huge price for terrorism in the past.
Mr. Shinde was responding to questions from journalists after he reviewed the functioning of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari along the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar district.
Reiterating the nation’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its hues, Mr. Shinde condemned the recent attack on Lieutenant-General (retd.) K.S. Brar in London. He said the Union government was monitoring the situation there and would take suitable decisions after the investigations were completed.
The Minister said the recent incursions by the Chinese army in the Ladakh region were not a matter of serious concern. The people and national interests were safe as the Army was fully alert and geared to meet any situation. He had made spot assessments of the situation in the forward areas.
Though it was his first visit to Amritsar after assuming charge as Home Minister, Mr. Shinde avoided the customary visits to the Golden Temple, the Durgiana Mandir and Jallianwala Bagh. He was received by a delegation of Akali-Dal-BJP MLAs, led by Revenue and Public Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who gave him a memorandum of demands related to the functioning of the ICP as well as problems faced by farmers along the border.
Responding to the protest by about a dozen Congress leaders and MLAs, who were upset at not having been invited to any of the Minister’s functions, Mr. Shinde said it was only an official visit to the ICP, nothing political. He denied having deputed a special team to probe the charges against the Punjab Minister who was forced to resign over the siphoning off money from the Border Area Development Fund.