The Statesman – What triggered Thupstan Chhewang resignation? Many blame BJP failure to ensure UT status for Ladakh

Resignations of Thupstan Chhewang, as also LAHDC chief executive councilor Dorjay Motup, are likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it was wiped out in the recent elections civic elections.

S P Sharma

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 16 November 2018. Failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party to implement its promise of granting union territory status to Ladakh and ministerial berth at the Centre to Thupstan Chhewang, who was the first ever BJP member of Lok Sabha from Ladakh, has rattled the party in the cold desert region.

Chhewang has resigned from his seat and also the primary membership of the party.

The MP took everyone by surprise when he shot a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker and also state BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Thursday evening, saying he was quitting his seat and also primary membership of the party with immediate effect on “health grounds”.

A few days ago, Dorjay Motup, chief executive councilor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, had also resigned from the post on health grounds.

Resignation of both leaders is likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it has virtually been wiped out in the recent elections for the Kargil’s LAHDC and the municipal council of Leh.

The Congress won all 13 seats of the Leh’s municipal council and the BJP could secure only one of the 26 seats of the LAHDC of Kargil.

It was for the first time that the BJP in 2014 won the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat as Thupstan Chhewang, who was an influential member of the Congress resigned and joined BJP to contest the election. He was reportedly promised a ministerial berth at the Centre if he won the seat.

However, he was not feeling comfortable in the BJP that failed to fulfill any of the electoral promises, sources close to Chhewang said. Moreover, he had been marginalised soon after winning the election.

Reacting to Chhewang’s resignation, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted: “2 of the 6 Lok Sabha seats from J&K will now be vacant till the general elections. Anantnag has been vacant for more than 2 years now & Ladakh falls vacant once this resignation is accepted”.

Rigzin Zora, Congress MLA from Ladakh, said the BJP had already been wiped out of Ladakh during the recent LAHDC, Kargil and municipal elections.

There were reports that Thuptsan Chhewang and Motup were humiliated by certain junior level BJP leaders of Jammu and New Delhi following the party’s rout in the municipal elections as a result of which both decided to quit.

In a letter to Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, Chhewang said: “I have to inform you that I am resigning from primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party on health grounds with immediate effect.”

He added: “I am also writing separately to the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha resigning as MP from Ladakh Parliamentary constituency.”

Raina confirmed that Chhewang had resigned from the party but claimed that he had for the past some time been saying he wanted to go towards spirituality and shun politics. He said the party had asked him to be in active politics till the 2019 elections.

Efforts to contact Thupstan Chhewang remained futile as his phones had been switched off since Thursday.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/bjps-failure-grant-union-territory-status-ladakh-triggered-thuptsans-resignation-1502708729.html

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The Statesman – CBI Director Alok Verma appears before Central Vigilance Commission

New Delhi – India, 09 November 2018. CBI Director Alok Verma met Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary on Friday in connection with an inquiry into the corruption charges levelled against him by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, officials said.

Verma appeared before the panel headed by Chowdary and comprising Vigilance Commissioners Sharad Kumar and T M Bhasin among others, added the officials who did not divulge other details regarding the meeting.

Verma had met Chowdary and Kumar on Thursday also in connection with the inquiry. He reportedly presented his side over the allegations of bribery raised against him on Thursday.

The officials had on Thursday said the Commission had recently examined some of the CBI officials who were part of the team probing crucial cases that figured in Asthana’s complaint against Verma.

On Tuesday, Verma refuted all allegations of corruption against him and said his actions were in the interest of the probe against Asthana.

In his reply to the CVC, Verma has responded to all the eight allegations levelled against him by Asthana.

On August 24, Asthana in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary had alleged that Satish Babu Sana, an accused in the Moin Qureshi case had paid a bribe of Rs 2 crore to Verma.

On October 24, in a dramatic midnight action, Verma was divested of his powers.

On October 26, the Supreme Court directed the CVC to complete its inquiry into the allegations against Verma, who has challenged the government’s decision divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, and appointed one agency’s former judges, Justice A.K. Patnaik to supervise the probe, to be concluded in two weeks’ time.

The war in the country’s premier investigating agency came to the fore after lodging of a FIR against Asthana and others on the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sana.

The CBI had on October 15 registered a case against Asthana for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Sana which was given through two middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad to sabotage the probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cbi-director-alok-verma-appears-cvc-1502706232.html

The Statesman – CBI says Alok Verma remains CBI Director, Rakesh Asthana Special Director, Rao only interim in-charge

To bring the perspective of the Central Vigilance Commission order recommending the divesting of powers of Verma and Asthana, Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given the charge to look after the duties and functions of the Director as an interim arrangement, a CBI spokesperson said.

New Delhi – India, 25 October 2018. The CBI on Thursday said Alok Verma, who has been divested of his powers, will remain its Director and the agency’s number two Rakesh Asthana will continue as the Special Director, while M Nageshwar Rao has been given interim charge of the agency.

To bring the perspective of the Central Vigilance Commission order recommending the divesting of powers of Verma and Asthana, Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given the charge to look after the duties and functions of the Director as an interim arrangement, a CBI spokesperson said.

“Alok Verma continues to remain the Director of the CBI, Rakesh Asthana remains as Special Director and M Nageshwar Rao is looking after duties and functions of the Director in the interim period till the time CVC looks into allegations and counter allegations,” the spokesperson told reporters.

The CBI spokesperson’s response came after he was asked about the present status of Verma and Asthana in the CBI.

He described as “false” news report that appeared in a section of media suggesting that seven files were removed.

“It is false news. This is being manufactured by vested interest. Every file in CBI at each level is accounted for. These news stories appearing in the media will have an adverse impact on the credibility of the agency. The CBI is fighting cases internationally. Credibility shouldn’t suffer,” the spokesperson said.

In an unprecedented shake-up in the CBI’s 55-year-history, both Verma and his deputy, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, were divested of their powers and sent on leave in a dramatic overnight action by the government on Tuesday night.

Verma knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging the government’s decision. The apex court agreed to hear his plea on Friday.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cbi-says-alok-verma-remains-cbi-director-rakesh-asthana-special-director-rao-interim-charge-1502700881.html

The Statesman – India rules out talks with Pakistan

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism was one of the reasons India cancelled the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmud Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.

New Delhi – India, 18 October 2018. India on Thursday ruled out talks with Pakistan until the neighbouring country takes credible action against terrorism emanating from its soil.

“Talks and terrorism cannot go together…the onus is on Pakistan to take credible steps and to create conducive conditions by stopping its support to terrorism and dismantling the terrorist infrastructure on its soil,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing.

He was asked if any ‘Track II’ diplomatic initiative was on for engaging Pakistan.

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism was one of the reasons India cancelled the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmud Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.

He said the Indian Army would be in a better position to respond to the Pakistan Army’s statement that it would conduct 10 ‘surgical strikes’ in response to a single such operation by India.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-rules-talks-pakistan-1502698159.html

The Statesman – M J Akbar likely to resign amid MeToo allegations

As more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Union minister M J Akbar, the Congress demanded either his justified explanation or resignation.

New Delhi – India, 11 October 2018. Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women in the wake of ongoing MeToo campaign, could be asked to resign from his post soon.

According to media reports, Akbar, who is currently in Nigeria, may step down till his name is cleared in the cases of sexual harassment.

He is expected to return from his foreign trip on Friday after which he could tender his resignation.

It is expected that the minister will resign citing personal reasons.

Meanwhile, as more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Union minister M J Akbar, the Congress demanded either his justified explanation or resignation.

The Congress stepped into the swirling storm, asking journalist turned politician Akbar to either resign as minister of state for external affairs or offer a satisfactory explanation to the allegations by women journalists who had worked with him in the past.

The government maintained silence with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refusing to comment when asked to do so in a press conference.

“How can he be in the ministry with serious allegations being levelled against him by responsible journalists who worked with him. Let there be an inquiry into it,” Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said as three more journalists came forward with their allegations against Akbar.

One of them, Ghazala Wahab, detailed the harassment and molestation she faced during her first job in the Asian Age when Akbar was editor.

Describing her trauma in graphic detail, Wahab wrote in The Wire that it took her a while to process the abuse and open up about it.

“Once, in autumn of 1997, while I was half-squatting over the dictionary, he sneaked up behind me and held me by my waist. I stumbled in sheer fright while struggling to get to my feet.

He ran his hands from my breast to my hips. I tried pushing his hands away, but they were plastered on my waist, his thumbs rubbing the sides of my breasts,” Wahab recalled.

Akbar has come under the media spotlight after many of his former women colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct.

The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry.

The movement in India started after actor Tanushree Dutta alleged that well-known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar sexually harassed her on the sets of a movie in 2008. Since then, many women have come out in public to share their experiences of harassment.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/mj-akbar-likely-resign-amid-metoo-allegations-1502695546.html

The Statesman – AFSPA extended in Arunachal Pradesh’s three districts for 6 months

According to a Home Ministry official, the decision was taken following a review of the law and order situation in the state’s three districts and the eight police station.

New Delhi – India, 03 October 2018. The Centre has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for six months in Arunachal Pradesh’s three districts and in the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the state’s eight police stations bordering Assam, notifying them as “disturbed areas”, a government notification said.

Issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday, the notification said AFSPA has been extended in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the eight police stations bordering Assam up to 31 March 2019.

“Now, therefore, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the following eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam, are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 up to March 31, 2019 w.e.f. October 1, 2018, unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification said.

The three districts, bordering Myanmar, have been under the AFSPA since January 2016. The government had declared these three districts and the eight police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” in its earlier notification issued on April 1.

The eight police stations include Balemu and Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, Seijosa in East Kameng district, Balijan in Papumpare district, Namsai and Mahadevpur in Namsai district, Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura in Lohit district.

According to a Home Ministry official, the decision was taken following a review of the law and order situation in the state’s three districts and the eight police station.

AFSPA gives powers to the Army and Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.

It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.

The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was in place in Meghalaya for a a 20-km area (along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/afspa-extended-in-arunachal-pradeshs-three-districts-for-6-months-1502692364.html

The Statesman – ‘Hindutva a way of life judgement’ made political discourse lopsided: Manmohan Singh

He said no constitutional arrangement can be protected and preserved only by the judiciary, however, vigilant or enlightened the judges may be.

New Delhi – India, 25 September 2018. Faulting the “famous but controversial” ‘Hindutva is a way of life’ judgement of late Justice J S Verma of the Supreme Court in the 1990s, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the judiciary as an institution should never lose sight of its primary duty to protect the secular spirit of the Constitution.

This task, he said, has become much more demanding than before because the political disputes and electoral battles were increasingly getting overlaced with religious overtones, symbols, myths and prejudices.

Singh was delivering the 2nd memorial lecture of the late Communist leader A B Bardhan on “Defence of Secularism and Constitution”.

The former Prime Minister criticised Verma’s judgment suggesting it virtually disturbed “a kind of constitutional sanity” that was restored in the country’s political discourse through the Bommai judgment in which a nine-judge bench of Supreme Court found an opportunity to reaffirm that secularism was a basic structure of the Constitution.

He said Justice Verma’s verdict had a “decisive impact” on the ongoing debate among political parties about the principles and practices of secularism in the Republic.

“The judgment ended up making our political discourse somewhat lopsided; and, many believe that ‘there can be no doubt that the decision requires to be overruled’,” Singh said.

He said no constitutional arrangement can be protected and preserved only by the judiciary, however, vigilant or enlightened the judges may be.

“Ultimately, it comes down to the political leadership, civil society, religious leaders and intelligentsia to defend the Constitution and its secular commitments. It is necessary to remind ourselves that the framers of the Constitution in their wisdom had conceived this secular order as part of a larger, greater egalitarian polity.”

Describing the demolition of the Babri Masjid as a traumatic event bringing into disrepute India’s secular commitments, Singh said the entire political leadership too came in for criticism for failing to protect a place of worship.

“In particular, concerned citizens were deeply disappointed at the judiciary’s stance in the events leading upto the demolition,” he said.

The former Prime Minister said the country should unambiguously clear that any attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the Republic would be an attempt to dismantle the larger egalitarian project, a secular, progressive democratic polity.

The judiciary needs to arrive at its own enlightened view of its custodianship of the Constitution irrespective of the irresponsible and selfish politicians who have no qualms in injecting communal virus in the body politic, he said.

The same expectation must also be voiced in regard to the armed forces which are a splendid embodiment of the secular project.

“Our armed forces have a glorious record of keeping away from the politicians’ manipulations and intrigues. It is vitally important that the armed forces remain uncontaminated from any sectarian appeal.”

Stressing on the role of Election Commission in preserving the secular fabric, Singh said it was incumbent upon the poll panel to see that the religion and religious sentiments and prejudices do not get overworked into the election discourse.

He said the media as a democratic institution was an equal partner in upholding secularism both in letter and spirit.

CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said the very idea of a secular and pluralist India tolerant of all sex and religion was under severe threat under the Modi government.

He said there has been serious attacks targeted at turning the secular India into a Hindu Rashtra, tearing off the statutes of the Constitution that oppose the moves or changing the Constitution itself.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/hindutva-a-way-of-life-judgement-made-political-discourse-lopsided-manmohan-1502689259.html

The Statesman – SAD slams Navjot Sidhu after Sushma Swaraj’s clarification on Kartarpur Sahib

A major controversy involving Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu erupted on Tuesday after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj clarified that Pakistan had made no communication whatsoever regarding the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

New Delhi – India, 18 September 2018. A major controversy involving Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu erupted on Tuesday after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj clarified that Pakistan had made no communication whatsoever regarding the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.

In a sharp attack on Sidhu, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal called him a “Pakistani agent” and “a puppet dancing to their tune”.

“I think he is a new agent that Pakistan has found and they are using him as a puppet and he is dancing to their tune. Let him dance and deliver to our people,” Badal, who is also the Union Minister Minister of Food Processing, said at a press conference.

Badal questioned Sidhu’s “friendship” with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stating that “out of the entire cricket team only Navjot Sidhu was invited”.

“Let him produce a letter from the PM granting this (corridor to Kartarpur). The moment that letter is produced, within 24 hrs, I’ll have the corridor put up by my GoI,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.

On Monday, Sidhu had a meeting with Swaraj during which the External Affairs Minister reportedly “reprimanded” the Punjab minister for “misusing” his visit to Pakistan.

“External Affairs Minister (Swaraj) reprimanded Sidhu for messing up Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and misusing political clearance granted for private visit by hugging military chief responsible for killing our soldiers,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted on Monday.

In the press conference on Tuesday, Badal also produced the letter that Swaraj wrote to her.

In the letter, Swaraj said that New Delhi has been taking up the matter of opening a passage to the Gurudwara located in Pakistan but Islamabad “has so far neither agreed to include visits to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib by the Indian pilgrims…nor has it sent any official communication for establishing a corridor”.

Sidhu had on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak claimed that Pakistan will open the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib. His party, too, had hailed it as a goodwill gesture. But Swaraj’s letter punctured Sidhu’s claim.

“Kartarpur corridor is an emotional issue for Sikhs. We pray each day to be able to have open darshan of the Gurdwara which remains across the fence. Several of us, including me, have been pursuing with the government to have this corridor opened,” Badal wrote while sharing the letter on Twitter.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/sad-slams-navjot-sidhu-after-sushma-swarajs-clarification-on-kartarpur-sahib-1502686185.html

The Statesman – Why solar energy use has declined in India

Vaibhavi Dwivedi and Armin Rosencranz

Op/Ed, 12 September 2018. Since its introduction in 2008, the use of solar energy in India has increased gradually. This new source of energy promised to provide electricity without degrading the environment or depleting natural resources.

Despite the rapid economic growth in the country, the majority of India’s population remains extremely poor.

About 75 million of the world’s 300 million people who live without electricity are Indians, while many in the remaining population only receive electric power for a few hours a day.

Generating around 1.6 tons of carbon each year, India currently stands as the third largest producer of carbon in the world. With the increase in population growth, carbon emissions have been predicted to rise rapidly too.

Moreover, almost 60 per cent of India’s electricity supply is attributed to coal-fired power stations that are highly polluting and inefficient. To combat this situation, Prime Minister Modi had pledged to bui ld 100 gigawatts of solar-based power by 2022.

He had also collaborated with France’s Francois Hollande to create an International Solar Alliance.

Additionally, a global funding of $1 trillion was set as the goal for investments in solar energy. However, the Modi government’s promise of solar energy seems to have lost its momentum.

India’s renewable energy capacity till December 2017 was only 62.84 GW, while the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also been failing to utilize allocated funds for the past two years. This under-utilization of funds can be seen in the slow research and development of renewable technology as well.

India has recently witnessed a steep decline in its solar market. According to a respected research study conducted this year, there was a downswing of 52 per cent in solar installations around the country in 2017.

The imposition of a 25 per cent safeguard duty on solar panel cells imported from China and Malaysia is one of the major reasons behind this recent decline.

This imposition has severally dampened bidders for new solar projects, owing to the rise in prices of solar modules. While this duty has been imposed for two years to protect domestic manufacturers, India only has six makers of solar modules with a total capacity of 3000 MW.

This is grossly insufficient to meet the national demand.

Secondly, the new goods and services tax (GST) imposed on the solar module manufacturing industry has resulted in manufacturers paying a higher amount of GST while procuring raw materials. This model has imposed different GST rates on various components of a solar project.

While solar modules attract 5 per cent GST, invertors and batteries attract imposition of 18 and 28 per cent GST respectively. Such a condition has caused confusion regarding application of different GST rates, hindering the ongoing projects and obstructing the target achievement.

The rise in photovoltaic module prices internationally has also directly impacted solar projects in India. Developers in the country had been modelling their auction bidding strategies on the assumption of declining Chinese module prices.

This assumption had not foreseen the rise in Chinese pricing and thus prompted fewer bidders to take up new projects. Additionally, the demand for the imposition of anti-dumping duties by local manufacturers in India ultimately resulted in subdued bidding of solar projects.

Moreover, existing projects have been reported to be under-performing due to breakage of modules and other external factors. The ‘rooftop’ solar programme initiated in the country has not been successful given the high cost of installing solar plants on the roofs of commercial and residential buildings.

Accordingly, India’s target of generating 100 GW of solar power seems like a distant reality. While the rise of duties implies a rise in solar tariffs, benefitting the domestic economy, it will also make solar power less attractive to consumers.

Tariffs may boost the domestic economy, as a part of the ‘Make in India’ endeavor. But the Modi government also needs to focus on its promises of curbing carbon production.

The writers are, respectively, a final year law student and professor of law at the Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat.

https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/solar-energy-use-declined-india-1502683631.html

The Statesman – Kartarpur corridor, Respond to Pakistan’s gesture, Sidhu urges Centre

“They (Pakistan) are ready to open the corridor of Kartarpur Sahib on the 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji. There can be no bigger happiness than this for the people of Punjab,” said Sidhu.

Ranjeet Jamwal

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 September 2018. Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to open the Kartarpur border with India for the access of Sikh pilgrims and urged the Centre to reciprocate this ‘noble gesture’ of the new government in the neighbouring country.

“They (Pakistan) are ready to open the corridor of Kartarpur Sahib on the 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji. There can be no bigger happiness than this for the people of Punjab,” said Sidhu.

The cricketer-turned-politician said Pakistan had travelled “miles” in return to “one step” taken by him (by his recent trip to Islamabad for new Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath ceremony and demanding opening of Kartarpur corridor).

Quoting a tweet by Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry announcing Pakistan will soon open the Kartar Singh border for Sikh pilgrims and allow them to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur without having to obtain a visa and a system has been formed for the pilgrims entering Pakistan, Sidhu said the step is unprecedented and the corridor is yet to be opened since Partition in 1947.

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, a historic Sikh pilgrimage where Guru Nanak, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, is said to have settled there after his travels, is about four kilometers from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur. The 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, who breathed his last in Kartarpur, is being observed in November 2019.

Sidhu had courted controversy during his visit to Pakistan when he hugged the Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He termed the ‘hug’ as an “emotional” moment as General Bajwa had told him that they were making efforts to open the corridor from India’s Dera Baba Nanak to the Sikh shrine of Kartarpur Sahib.

When asked about the reports that Bajwa in his speech at Pakistan’s 53rd Defence Day on Thursday vowed to avenge the blood flowing on the border, Sidhu refused to comment and said it was not the time for petty politics.

On the charge that he was interfering in India’s foreign policy by taking up the Kartarpur corridor issue directly with Pakistan and thanking its leadership for the latest decision, Sidhu said he went to Pakistan in the personal capacity after getting the due clearances and it was for the Indian government to take a decision in the matter. “I have made a humble request. If there’s peace, this bloodshed (on borders) will come to an end,” he said.

Sidhu said he has no words to thank Pakistan PM Imran Khan for his decision to keep politics separate from religion. Sidhu expressed the hope that the decision will lessen the gap between the two countries.

“I plead to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Ministry that if they have made an effort, you should also make an effort,” he said, adding that this “is not the time for religion-based politics”. “This is the message from Pakistan to the whole world. Don’t think that anyone can oppose this noble gesture,” Sidhu said.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/kartarpur-corridor-respond-to-paks-gesture-sidhu-urges-centre-1502682278.html