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Dhindsa takes Gill, Bitta to task on martyr issue
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 12, 2003 03:01 IST
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilizers and senior Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal leader, has condemned former director general of Punjab Police K P S Gill and Congress leader Maninderjit Singh Bitta for raking up an 'unnecessary controversy' on declaring Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a 'martyr'.
"Both K P S Gill and Bitta have a hidden agenda and that is to slam the Akalis on any ground. They got an opportunity to hog the limelight in media when Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti declared Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a martyr on June 6," Dhindsa told rediff.com in New Delhi.
He rejected criticism that the Akalis by supporting the title of 'martyr' bestowed on Bhindranwale were playing into the hands of Inter-Services of Intelligence of Pakistan and trying to revive terrorism in Punjab.
"When they have nothing else to say they try to paint the Akalis as anti-national," he said.
Asked what made Akalis rake up the Bhindranwale issue after 13 years, he said, "We made no attempt to bring him back in the news. On the contrary we have laid down a controversy to rest. Some said that he was alive. There were others who said that he was dead. By declaring him a martyr it has been declared that he died. Four hundred others who lost their lives during Operation Bluestar were declared as martyrs and Bhindranwale is one among them."
He cited the reported remarks of Julio Riberio, former director general of Punjab police, in support of his argument.
"When newsmen went and asked Riberio about declaring Bhindranwale a martyr, Riberio said 'this was an internal matter of the Sikhs and it should be left to them'," he said.
More reports from Punjab
Read about: Striking a Discordant Note