CAPT AMARINDER TO LEAD ALL-PARTY DELEGATION TO MEET MODI ON PASSPORT, PAK FEE WAIVER FOR KARTARUR CORRIDOR

PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA PASSES UNANIMOUS RESOLUTION, CM ASKS SAD TO TAKE UP ISSUE ALSO WITH HARSIMRAT

CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 25: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will lead an all-party delegation from Punjab to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek waiver of Passport and further simplification of the process for visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib, and to urge him to pressurize Pakistan to slash the $20 fee on Indian pilgrims.

A resolution to this effect was passed unanimously in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister, while intervening on MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala’s suggestion that the state government should take up these issues with the Centre, asked him to simultaneously take up this issue with Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal in order to prepare the ground for early resolution in the larger interests of the devotees.

Meanwhile, moving the resolution, Punjab Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said that after the Kartarpur Corridor had opened on November 9, 2019, after decades of Ardas by the Nanak Naam Leva Sangat. The Corridor’s history would be written in Golden letters, he said.

Pointing out that at present, any Nanak Naam Leva devotee, who intends to visit Sri Kartarpur Sahib for Darshan-Didar, requires passport identification, besides paying a fee of 20 US Dollars, the resolution points out that many of Punjab’s residents are such who do not possess passports and are deprived of visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib despite being desirous of Darshan.

Apart from this, devotees are facing lot of hardships due to the difficult process of online registration, which is a major hurdle for devotees, as a result of which many devotees are not going for Darshan, the resolution, which is Punjabi, further reads on translation.

Through the resolution, the House strongly recommended to Punjab Government to take up these issues with the Union Government so that the latter could impress upon the Pakistan Government to “remove the condition of passport and, in lieu of it, other documents like Aadhar card should be permitted for identification.”

The resolution also urges the Centre to take up with Pakistan the issue of slashing the $20 fee, besides simplifying the cumbersome procedure for registration by the devotees on the website of the Government of India.

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CAPT AMARINDER SAYS PUBLIC ANGST AGAINST CAA NATURAL, WILL GROW TILL CENTRE WITHDRAWS DRACONIAN LAW

SAYS CENTRE’S FAILURE TO INVITE SONIA TO BANQUET FOR US PRESIDENT `UNFORTUNATE’, NEVER HAPPENED UNDER CONG REGIMES

CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 25: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the public reaction to the Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA) had to be expected since the BJP government at the centre was trying to destroy India’s cherished constitutional and social fabric through this draconian legislation.

Responding to a question from mediapersons while informally interacting with them outside the Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister said the BJP-led central government had failed to factor in the possible reaction of the people in its plans to impose the CAA, as well as the NRC and NPR, on the nation.Naturally, there had to be a reaction to the Centre’s attempt to trample over the country’s democratic ideals of socialism and secularism, he said, adding that the people’s angst would not end but would only grow bigger till the central government realised its mistake and withdrew the legislation.

Asked about the Centre’s decision not to invite Congress President Sonia Gandhi to the banquet hosted for the visiting US President, Captain Amarinder described it as unfortunate and said such a thing had never happened under Congress governments.

Replying to another question, he said the Delhi Chief Minister should have been invited for the US First Lady’s visit to Delhi schools. Though he was not a supporter of AAP policies, it was customary for the chief minister to be invited when a VIP, such as US President Donald Trump, was on a visit and his wife was going to a school of that state, he said.

Asked about the probe into the drugs charges against former SSB member and Akali leader Anwar Masih, Captain Amarinder said the investigations were in progress.

On the demand of cancelation of PPAs with private power companies, the Chief Minister said that closing down the plants might not be a feasible alternative but his government would renegotiate the agreements. Though he had announced his government’s decision to bring out a white paper on the PPAs signed by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government in the monsoon session of the Assembly, his government was working on trying to present it before the House in the current budget session itself, he added.

“Wait for my speech tomorrow in Vidhan Sabha,” the Chief Minister quipped, on being asked about the smart schools in Punjab.

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CAPT AMARINDER TRASHES SEKHON’S CHARGES AGAINST ASHU, SAYS MINISTER GIVEN CLEAN CHIT BY ALL COURTS

EX-DSP WOULD HAVE BEEN COURT MARTIALLED & DISMISSES IF HE’D DONE THIS IN ARMY, SAYS CM

PROMISES TO DISMISS SEKHON UNDER ARTICLE 311 IF DEPARTMENTAL PROBE FINDS HIM GUILTY

Chandigarh, February 25: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday completely trashed former Ludhiana DSP’s charges against Cabinet Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, saying had someone like Balwinder Singh Sekhon made such charges against a senior commander in the Army, he would have been court martialled and dismisses by now.

Reacting to former DSP Sekhon’s allegations against the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister, which were raised by some opposition members in the house a day earlier, the Chief Minister said the former was only trying to conduct a media trial with his baseless charges.

Unfortunately, this was not the army and Sekhon could not be court martialled, said Captain Amarinder, asserting that if the departmental inquiry currently in progress against the ex-DSP finds him guilty, he (the Chief Minister) would personally ensure the officer’s dismissal under Article 311.

Ashu had already been given a clean chit at every level, by the TADA court and other courts, Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that all cases referred to by Sekhon had been scrutinised through judicial processes and no fresh evidence had been filed by the DSP. Pointing out that Ashu was just 19 when his parents were killed, the Chief Minister said TADA cases against him were examined by the Commission set up by the then Akali government and Ashu was duly exonerated.

Responding to Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema, the Chief Minister later said Ashu had mentioned all these cases in his election affidavits.

“This man (Sekhon) was thrown out of police force and even dismisses from duty on many serious charges. But he was reinstated later, and he is now making charges against my minister,” said the Chief Minister, questioning the former DSP’s locus standii in making any statements or allegations against Ashu.

Describing Ashu as a competent minister who had the difficult charge of handling food security, the Chief Minister said the state’s godowns were full and the minister was trying to solve these issues of plenty.

On SAD member Bikram Singh Majithia pointing out that cases had been opened against Akali’s Valhota after 32 years, Captain Amarinder quipped, “Then why not initiate a case against Parkash Singh Badal who had torn copies of our Constitution?”

In his statement earlier, the Minister said having come from the Army himself, he knew the importance of discipline, and Sekhon’s statements amounted to gross indiscipline, which would have been punished with court martial in the armed forces.

The sections under which the DSP had been suspended and chargesheeted in the past were derogatory sections for any officer of a disciplined force, said Captain Amarinder, reading out the various provisions of the law under which action had been taken by his government against Sekhon in December 2019.

It may be recalled that Balwinder Singh Sekhon DSP, 1st CDO Battalion, Bahadurgarh, Patiala was placed under suspension on account of his unauthorised absence from duty and conduct and behaviour unbecoming of an officer being member of disciplined force. A Charge sheet, as specified in Clause (v) to (ix) of rule 5 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules 1970, was served to the delinquent officer on February 19, 2020.

Further, as per record, 5 criminal cases were registered against Balwinder Singh Sekhon, (4 cases in 2002 and 1 case in 2015 by SAD-BJP Government), and he was dismissed under Article 311 in 2002 for indulging in corrupt practices and his connections with bad elements, the Chief Minister pointed out, citing past cases against the former DSP.

Later, talking to mediapersons outside the House, the Chief Minister said the issue was being raised by the Akalis after all these years purely for political reasons. “Why did they (Akais) not reopen the cases during their regime if they felt there was something in it?” he asked.

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WE WILL NOT LET KARTARPUR CORRIDOR TO BE CLOSED DOWN, DECLARES CAPT AMARINDER IN PUNJAB ASSEMBLY

TERMS CONTROVERSY OVER DGP’S REMARKS `AVOIDABLE’, SAYS DINKAR GUPTA HAD ALREADY APOLOGISED & IT WAS TIME TO FOCUS ON PEACE

SAYS PAK THREAT CAN’T BE IGNORED, HIS GOVT HAS CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS THAT CANNOT BE SHARED IN HOUSE

Chandigarh, February 25: Even as he underlined the need for vigilance against Pakistan’s nefarious designs, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday made it clear that regardless of security concerns, the Kartarpur Corridor shall remain open for ‘Khulle Darshan Deedar’ of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

In a statement in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister asserted that “we will not let Kartarpur Corridor be closed down.”

The “Kartarpur Sahib Corridor has been opened because we wanted it to be opened; every Punjabi wanted it, and had prayed for it in daily Ardas every day, along with praying for opening of Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and other Gurdwaras,” said Captain Amarinder, urging the governments of India and Pakistan to work for the opening of these Gurdwaras too.

Captain Amarinder, who had requested the Speaker for permission to make his statement before the Question Hour, was responding to the criticism by the opposition of certain recent remarks of the state DGP regarding the threat potential of the Kartarpur Corridor.

Noting “with great concern the statements made by different persons and organizations on DGP’s remarks about security concerns relating to Sri Kartarpur Sahib,” the Chief Minister termed the reactions totally avoidable.

“The DGP had apologized; everybody makes mistakes; even I make mistakes, we are human beings,” said Captain Amarinder, asking if there was anyone from the Opposition who could claim not to have made mistakes. “We all make mistakes, this issue is over now, let us concentrate on peace and on ensuring that the difficult times through which Punjab had been do not recur,” he added. Pointing out that 35000 Punjabis and 1700 policemen had lost their lives, in addition to the Army soldiers, during the years of militancy in the stare, the Chief Minister said “it is our responsibility is to ensure this does not happen again.”

Assuring the people of Punjab, “through this August house, that we are extremely happy that the Corridor has been opened, thanks to our collective efforts,” the Chief Minister declared that it (the Corridor) shall remain open, whatever may be the concerns. “

“My Government was party to the decision to open up the Corridor. The whole of my government, including Ministers and officers of various departments, worked tirelessly day & night, along with the central government, to acquire the land and build the necessary Infrastructure in record time, including security infrastructure, for the launch of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib corridor to coincide with the 550 Years Birthday Celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November 2019,” said Captain Amarinder.

He further recalled: “Personally also, I made numerous trips to review the progress of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Project, and my government even held Cabinet meetings in Gurdaspur district to review the pace of work and ensure necessary coordination between various State and central government departments and agencies.”

The apprehensions of threat to the security of the people and the country were, however, “serious”, the Chief Minister said, adding that these apprehensions “are not because the Corridor has been opened but because of the `Maardi Neeyat’ (bad intent) of Pakistan.

The Chief Minister said his government had classified documents which he could not circulate in the House. After meddling in Kashmir for long, the ISI had only one task now – to disturb the peace of Punjab, he said, adding that Pakistan was blatantly trying to foment trouble in the state.

In the last three years, his government had succeeded in checking ISI’s nefarious designs, with the Punjab Police had bustng 32 modules, arresting 154 terrorists and seizing 41 AK47/ MP9/ MP5 rifles, 156 other rifles and pistols, 35 hand grenades including those used in the Nirankari Bhawan attack in Amritsar, 3.5 kg of RDX, two smart phones and Rs 30 lakhs in fake currency, the Chief Minister revealed.

Showing pictures of Chinese drones, Captain Amarinder said these had been seized from a man swimming through Raavi but there might be others that had not been caught. “Who knows what their motive is,” he added.

“What problem ISI has with Taliban, Iran or Balochistan, we don’t know. But what they have been doing in India is known to all. Earlier it was Kashmir, and now even Punjab is their target,” said the Chief Minister.

Later, responding to concerns raised by Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Captain Amarinder said Pakistan could not be trusted, as was evident from the developments in 1947, 1965, 1971 and the Kargil war. The Pak army was highly committed against India, with Prime Minister Imran Khan being a mere puppet in their hands, he said, adding that ISI was also a part of Pakistan Army.

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CAPT. AMARINDER MEETS BEHBAL KALAN VICTIMS’ FAMILIES, PROMISES TIME-BOUND PROBE BY STF & PUNISHMENT FOR CULPRITS

Chandigarh, February 25: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday met the families of the victims of the Behbal Kalan incident, and promised that investigation into the case would be taken to its logical conclusion and those found guilty would be punished.

Reiterating his government’s resolve to ensuring justice for the victims’ families, the Chief Minister assured them that the Special Task Force (STF), entrusted with the probe after it was withdrawn from CBI, would get to the bottom of the case. All the culprits involved in the heinous crime of sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib would be brought to book and those responsible for the deaths of innocent people would be duly punished, he said.

In response to concerns expressed by the families, the Chief Minister assured them that the probe by the STF would be completed in a time bound manner. He also agreed to visit Behbal Kalan soon.

The family members, including Sadhu Singh, father of late Gurjit Singh of Sarawan village and Sukhraj Singh, son of late Krishan Bhagwan Singh, demanded early completion of various development works in Behbal Kalan. These include boundary wall and flooring of the community hall, carpeting of existing three kilometer stretch of kacha road from village Sarawan to Matta, besides upgradation of infrastructure in local Dana Mandi.

Captain Amarinder promised to get all these pending development issues addressed on priority.

Cabinet Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Vijay Inder Singla, as well as MLAs Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Parminder Singh Pinky, were present at the meeting.

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NO MOVIES PROMOTING GANGSTERISM & VIOLENCE TO BE ALLOWED IN PUNJAB, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

ASSURES PROBE INTO CHARGES OF ANTI-NATIONAL ACTIVITIES AGAINST SAD’S IQBAL SINGH MALLAH

Chandigarh, February 25: Punjab will not allow any movie seeking to promote gangsterism and violence in the state, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asserted in the House, saying his government would also approach the Censor Board in this regard.

The Chief Minister was intervening, on the third day of the ongoing Budget Session, during a discussion in response to a question raised by MLA Khanna Gurkirat Singh Kotli in the Zero Hour. Kotli had expressed concern over more movies like the recently banned 'Shooter' being in the pipeline for release.

Reiterating his firm commitment to ensuring a safe and secure social environment across the state, the Chief Minister said that nothing would be allowed to disturb Punjab’s hard earned peace and communal harmony.

The state government would write to the Censor Board also on such movies since the matter comes under their purview, he added.

It may be recalled Captain Amarinder Singh had, earlier this month, ordered a ban on the movie `Shooter’, based on the life and crimes of notorious gangster Sukha Kahlwan.

Responding to another question raised by MLA Parminder Singh Pinky about involvement of SAD local leader Iqbal Singh Mallah in anti-national activities, the Chief Minister assured a thorough probe would be conducted and action would be taken as per law. Pinky had alleged that Mallah had links with a Khalistan Liberation Force member Happy PhD, who was killed in Pakistan recently.

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Shooting and archery events of Birmingham Commonwealth Games-2022 to be held in Chandigarh: Rana Sodhi

Chandigarh, February 25:-The events of the shooting and archery as part of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games-2022 will be held in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi made this revelation during Zero Hour in Punjab Vidhan Sabha today.

On the third day of the Budget session, Mr. Sodhi informed that it was a matter of pride for us that the shooting and archery events, which were earlier excluded from the commonwealth games, now will be held under Birmingham Commonwealth Games-2022 and competitions under these two events will be held in Chandigarh.

The Sports Minister therefore expressed his gratitude to the Governor of Punjab Mr. V.P. Singh Badnaur, Chief Minister Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh and especially President of the National Rifle Association of India Mr. Raninder Singh who attended series of meeting of Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in London for the inclusion of these two events in Commonwealth games after which CGF took this decision.