SAD for Sonia's clarification on Bhattal's terrorist links

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Chandigarh, Apr 21 (UNI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to break her silence on charges that dreaded terrorists in Punjab were sheltered and aided by senior Congress leaders like former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Incontrovertible evidence on the murky role played by the Congress in the terror blood-bath that rocked Punjab for more than a decade-and-a-half has now been provided by two former chief ministers belonging to the Congress party'', Mr Badal said in a written statement here.

The Bhattal-Amarinder spat has only confirmed reports that terrorism in Punjab had been mothered, nursed and sustained by the the Congress as part of its diabolic conspiracies to defame the SAD and the Sikhs for cheap political gains, the statement alleged.

Mr Badal's statement comes amid allegations leveled by the widow of a Babbar Khalsa terrorist that Mrs Bhattal harboured members of the outfit at her residence in Sangrur. Capt Singh who does not see eye-to-eye with Mrs Bhattal has demanded a probe into these allegations, while on the other hand the PPCC chief has also alleged that the former chief minister too maintained a liason with certain terrorists.

The SAD president said his party would welcome a thorough probe by a central agency like the CBI into the entire gamut of the Congress role in the tragedy of Punjab. He said the recent exchange of incriminations and recriminations between Capt Singh and Mrs Bhattal could not be dismissed as an internal affair of the Congress party as it involved the question of accountability for senseless killings of thousands of innocent Punjabis.

''At stake also is the issue of security, unity and integrity of the country'', the statement added.

Referring to the on-going spectacle of running battles between the 'brother-sister duo' of Capt Singh and Mrs Bhattal, Mr Badal said the allegations leveled by the two against each other had frightening implications for peace and communal harmony in the state and the country. Mrs Gandhi must state clearly as to why such leaders had been honoured by her party as to be rewarded with the high office of Chief Minister, he added.

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