CHANDIGARH: Coming down heavily on Punjab Police chief Dinkar Gupta, the influential mass circulation daily Ajit today castigated him for suspecting the entire Sikh community, and said he was following in the foot prints of his boss chief minister Amarinder Singh who had displayed poor taste and an entirely poor sense of timing in the matter of Kartarpur Corridor.
"The police chief's statement has brought the entire approach and intention of the Congress government under a cloud," Ajit's editor and well known media baron Barjinder Singh Hamdard said in a hard-hitting editorial
"This police chief was not even born (ਪੁਲਿਸ ਮੁਖੀ ਉਦੋਂ ਪੈਦਾ ਵੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਨ ਹੋਏ) when Sikhs made huge sacrifices to win freedom for this country. It is possible that Dinkar's memory is failing and he no more remembers what he had read or heard in his younger years, so he might not be able to recall the fact that lakhs of families left their homes and hearths behind in Pakistan to make India their home as part of a commitment," Hamdard reminded Gupta a day after the police chief claimed that the Kartarpur Corridor was likely to be used by Pakistan to turn any devotee into a terrorist in a span of mere six hours.
Ajit, which proclaims itself as the voice of the panth and is fairly popular among Punjabis, said Dinkar's words were a clear pointer that "conspiracy was on as part of a well-crafted strategy to somehow shut down the Corridor under some pretext."
"Without a doubt, such statements and the steps being taken towards such an unsavoury end were akin to rubbing salt in the wounds that have been inflicted on the Sikh psyche," Hamdard wrote
in his signed editorial.
The editorial said the Sikh community was still miffed with the fact that the government has put in place many restrictions and a number of devout cannot access the passage to the shrine inside Pakistan, thus forced to stay content by looking at it through a pair of binoculars.
In contrast, the newspaper had effusive praise for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who, it said, displayed a generous and large heart and pulled out all stops to make the Corridor operational.
"Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has displayed a positive attitude. and inaugurated the Corridor himself on November 9, where he also thanked Imran Khan," Hamdard said.
But chief minister Amarinder Singh came in for some strong criticism.
"At the auspicious occasion of inauguration, the kind of attitude displayed by CM Amarinder Singh and the language he deployed towards Pakistan instead of thanking that nation, it was very unfortunate and condemnable," Hamdard said.
He recalled that Amarinder Singh thought it a fit occasion to badmouth Pakistan, referred to the hungry people in that country and swooped down to the level of a bully, issuing threats and proclaiming that "we are not wearing bangles and will give a stunning reply to Pakistan.”
Here are Hamdard's words in chaste Punjabi: "ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੇ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਨੂੰ ਭੰਡਿਆ… ਉਸ ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖਮਰੀ ਦਾ ਜ਼ਿਕਰ ਕੀਤਾ… ਸਟੇਜ ਤੋਂ ਧਮਕੀ ਭਰੇ ਲਹਿਜ਼ੇ ਵਿਚ ਇਹ ਵੀ ਆਖ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਜੇਕਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਆਪਣੀਆਂ ਹਰਕਤਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਜ਼ ਨਾ ਆਇਆ ਤਾਂ ਸਾਡੇ ਕਿਹੜੀਆਂ ਚੂੜੀਆਂ ਪਾਈਆਂ ਹੋਈਆਂ ਹਨ… ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਨੂੰ ਮੂਧਾ ਪਾ ਕੇ ਭੰਨਾਂਗੇ।”
He said Dinkar was simply following Amarinder Singh's script, and while remaining alert about security concerns was an understandable national interest, the intention behind the latest turn of events betrayed vested interests at work.
Barjinder Singh Hamdard recalled that the UN Secretary General António Guterres had termed the same Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as a living example of Pakistan’s desire for peace and inter-religious harmony.
"It is possible that some Punjab politicians and bureaucrats working with a certain mindset might not have been able to digest such a narrative," Hamdard said, mincing no words about the police chief or his boss.
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