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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 16, 2007
Punjab CM blames Congress for sectarian violence
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Punjab CM blames Congress for sectarian violence

Stating that the situation in Punjab is under control, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today blamed opposition Congress for fomenting sectarian violence in the State.

Chandigarh/Amritsar/New Delhi, May 16 : Stating that the situation in Punjab is under control, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today blamed opposition Congress for fomenting sectarian violence in the State.

"Congress has a hand in the entire episode. Congress legislators were present in the gathering...Now they are alleging that we could not control the law and order situation. But we have handled it so well," Badal said at a news conference in Chandigarh.

Badal also appealed people to maintain 'peace and harmony' and exercise restraint.

The Congress, however, charged the State government of inept handling of the situation.

"We should rise above politics. We should not attach ourselves with any religious organisation. It is the duty of the chief minister of the state to control the law and order situation, but there is a jungle rule in Punjab," said Rana Gurjit Singh, a Congress MP from Punjab.

The sectarian violence and tension that began on Monday also found reverberations in the Rajya Sabha, where Sikh members of the Parliament raised the issue.

Several Sikh leaders sought the arrest of Ram Rahim Singh and demanded stringent action against him.

"The Government should arrest him. Communal tension will prevail...and intensify until he is arrested. I have again raised the issue with the Home Minister. He has to be arrested otherwise peace in the state will be disturbed," said Tarlochan Singh, an opposition MP.

As the violence spread outside Punjab and tension gripped Jammu and adjoining areas, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had to appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony.

Political parties continued trading charges against each other following an alleged sacrilege of a religious leader, as protests continued for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.

Baton and sword-wielding protestors forced closure of shops and other commercial establishments in the holy city of Amritsar.

Police officials, however, claimed the situation was under control.

"People have been told that they can stage protests peacefully, but no one would be allowed to take law in their own hands," said Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar.

Sikhs were angered over an advertisement in local newspapers on Monday, showing the head of a breakaway sect -- Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of Dera Sacha Sauda -- in attire akin to that of Guru Gobind Singh, tenth guru of Sikhs.

Hundreds of Sikhs clashed with followers of Ram Rahim Singh, accusing themf insulting the larger Sikh community deliberately. Dozens of people, including policemen were injured in the violence since Monday.


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