National

Punjab DGP ‘remark’ over Kartarpur has hurt Sikh sentiment: Opposition

Police official says he “only red-flagged the obvious ‘potential’ for misuse”

The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday accused DGP Dinkar Gupta of hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community by making irresponsible remarks in the context of pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur gurdwara in Pakistan through the newly built corridor.

The DGP, however, expressed shock and outrage over his remarks “being misunderstood or being wilfully misconstrued” and that he “only red-flagged the obvious ‘potential’ for misuse by elements notorious for their hostility towards India” through the corridor.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema and Kotkapura legislator Kultar Singh Sandhwan said Mr. Gupta’s remark was highly offending and uncalled for from an officer of his stature.

The AAP leaders demanded that a criminal case be filed against the DGP for his insensitive statement and that he be given the marching orders. “If the State government fails to do so, the AAP would be left to obstruct Vidhan Sabha proceedings till the time justice is done,” they said in a statement here.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia alleged that Mr. Gupta’s statement — that an ordinary Sikh devotee going to pay obeisance at Sri Kartarpur Sahib can be turned into a terrorist in the space of six hours — was an insult to the ardas (prayers) of the Sikhs and others.

Asking the DGP to clarify his statement within 24 hours, Mr. Majithia, said: “If the officer failed to do this the SAD would launch a protest movement and would not allow the Vidhan Sabha to run on February 24. We cannot tolerate this insult at any cost,” he said here.

In a statement, Mr. Gupta said, “I rejoiced at the opening of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib corridor which has fulfilled the decades-old aspirations of millions of devotees like myself all over the world who profess their faith in Guru Nanak Devji and his divine teachings. Their daily ardas for “khulle darshan-deedaar” of religious shrines that remain in the post-Partition Pakistan was finally answered. It was a matter of even greater happiness that it coincided with the 550th Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Nanak Devji.”

Mr. Gupta said as the DGP of the State, which is faced with a continuing battle against violent extremism that continues to be funded and supported from across the border, he cannot over emphasise the need to remain vigilant.

“I only red-flagged the obvious ‘potential’ for misuse by elements notorious for their hostility towards India and their effort to exploit every opportunity, even the most pious one, to disturb peace and communal harmony,” he said.

Mr. Gupta said his remarks were strictly pertaining to the security and safety of Punjab and India. “There was absolutely no reference to any religion or community in the remarks but simply that some anti-national elements based in hostile neighbourhood could misuse and exploit this opportunity and, therefore, we need to be vigilant to such potential dangers in the interest of peace and security of the people of the State.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:04:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/punjab-dgp-remark-over-kartarpur-has-hurt-sikh-sentiment-opposition/article30890605.ece

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