Jangveer Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 21. The Punjab BJP today made it clear in the assembly that it was against bestowing honour on former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassin Balwant Singh Rajoana, saying it would not compromise on terrorism.
Speaking on behalf of the BJP after a demand from Congress Legislature Party Leader Sunil Jakhar that the party should make its stand clear on the floor of the House, Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal said: “We do not regard any murderer as a martyr”.
Naming Congress legislators Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Rakesh Pandey and Tarlochan Sondh, the BJP leader said “I am with them” on the issue. Mittal explained his own role during the period of militancy, saying he had led the fight against terrorism from the front, even as he accused the Congress of being responsible for the same. He even claimed that “Rao wanted us to support the Akali faction led by Captain Amarinder Singh. He wanted to make Amarinder CM as he felt the people of Punjab would not accept a Congress government”.
Talking to TNS, Mittal said the memorial issue was likely to be closed with the Chief Minister making it clear that it would be a gurdwara without any photographs. “We had lodged a protest with the CM and told him categorically that raising a memorial to those killed in Operation Bluestar was not a good development”. He said with today’s clarification, the controversy on the memorial was over as the hardliners had given a different connotation to the proposed memorial.
Mittal also claimed that there were hardliners within the SAD who wanted to create trouble for Badal. “They want to put Badal in an awkward position and not us”, he said, adding attempts were being made to embroil Badal in a controversy by joining religion with politics.
The BJP leader also claimed that the SAD had little role in the decision to honour Rajoana, adding the Damdami Taksal and a few other hardline groups were behind the move. Mittal, however, made it clear that the BJP was opposed to any move to honour Rajoana. “We are clear that a murderer is a murderer and can never be turned into a martyr”, he added.