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Friday, June 9, 2023

Army to suspend or shift Agnipath rallies to other states due to lack of support in Punjab

The army has cited a lack of support from the local administration to shift the Agnipath camps out of Punjab. Jalandhar Zonal Recruitment Officer Major General Sharad Bikram Singh addressed a letter to Punjab Chief Secretary VK Janjua and Principal Secretary Kumar Rahul on September 8 pointing out the lack of support.

“We are constrained to bring to your kind attention that support from local civil administration is vacillating with no clear-cut commitments. They are usually citing their inadequacies due to lack of directions from the state government at Chandigarh or lack of funds”, Major General Singh wrote.

The letter further says certain inescapable requirements are to be made available by the civil administration. It also warns that unless the government commits to making these arrangements, the army headquarters would be apprised. “we would be taking up the case with Army Headquarters to hold in abeyance all future recruitment rallies and procedures in the state” or “alternatively conduct rallies in neighbouring states”, the letter says.

“All deputy commissioners were directed to provide complete support to Army authorities for recruitment of Agniveers in Punjab. Any laxity shall be viewed seriously. Every effort will be made to recruit a maximum number of candidates into the army from the state”, CM Bhagwant Mann has been quoted as saying.

On the one hand, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government doesn’t provide support to the Bharatiya army and on the other, the party’s MLA conducts meetings with anti-national Khalistanis. Photographs of AAP MLA and Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan with Khalistani leader from Canada Harjit Singh Bajwa have surfaced on social media.

“We noticed that Bajwa is a known Khalistani leader in Canada. He uses his position to propagate Khalistani ideology and incites Sikhs into demanding a separate nation, Khalistan. Harjit Singh regularly shares posts related to Khalistan on his social media accounts. On September 6, he shared a video on Referendum 2020 to urge people to vote in favour of Khalistan on September 18 in Brampton, Canada”, notes an OpIndia article. In another video that has gone viral, Bajwa is seen raising the ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ slogan outside the Indian consulate on August 15 this year.

AAP’s Khalistani links have come to the fore earlier as well. In 2018, Gul Panag revealed that AAP had ‘flirted’ with separatist Khalistani elements during the Punjab assembly polls. Kumar Vishwas had also reiterated that AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal had no qualms in taking support of pro-Khalistani elements. It is amply clear that many AAP leaders and MLAs harbour pro-Khalistani views.

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