SGPC to discuss PMs views on extremism in Punjab

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Amritsar, Mar 9 (UNI) The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will discuss the Prime Minister's letter outrightly rejecting its demand for doing away with the 'Black List' containing the names of Sikh youth who had fled the country fearing harassment at the hands of security forces.

''We will discuss the PM's letter at the next meeting of the SGPC executive,'' SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said here today.

The meeting of the executive is expected to take place in the next few days, which would be before the SGPc Budget Session on March 29.

The Prime Minister's letter was in response to Jathedar Makkar's letter urging him to review the 'Black List' so that the Sikh youth who had fled abroad could return home. The PM's letter was also expected to come up for discussion in the SGPC General House during the Budget Session.

Referring to the Prime Minister's assurance in the letter that reviews were periodically carried out, Jathedar Makkar said that he would instruct the SGPC officials to prepare the case of every such Sikh youth who had fled abroad during the phase of militancy in Punjab.

''We will present each case at the next review meeting,'' he said.

The Prime Minister in his letter had stated that during the past three years at least three such reviews had taken place.

The letter said that the government could not do away with the lists as the security agencies had credible information of efforts being made by extremist groups to revive mililtancy in Punjab.

''Much of this is concentrated in countries abroad, like the UK, Germany, Canada and specially Pakistan-- where such groups receive a great deal of encouragement from remnants of extremist groups as well as support from other hostile forces,'' the letter said.

Referring to the bomb blast in the Shingar cinema (Ludhiana) in October last year, the letter stated that investigations into the incident were a matter of concern. Investigatins have revealed that the two masterminds responsible for the incident were induced to carry out such attacks during a visit they made to Pakistan, the letter pointed out.

Investigations into the bomb explosion also suggested that the funding for this came from extremist elements in the US, the letter added.

The letter, however, stated that there was little support for militancy in Punjab today. ''But extremist groups elsewhere have not given up their attempts to revive the movement and a great deal of caution is hence called for.'' The SGPC chief was assured that the Prime Minister would instruct the security agencies not to include anyone who did not deserve to be on the black list.

Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the Prime Minister's letter to the SGPC, state BJP chief Prof Rajinder Bhandari said militancy could not be revived in Punjab at any cost. He suggested that the UPA Government should initiate steps to bring misguided youths in the mainstream as done by SAD-BJP Government during its last tenure.

Mr Bhandari asked the Prime Minister to consider the Black List on merit.

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