Minorities are not feeling safe in the country: Badal

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New Delhi, Oct 13 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today told the National Integration Council that 'opportunistic vote-bank politics' of the rulers had instilled a 'feeling of insecurity' among the minorities and further fragmented the Indian society into castes and classes.

''Despite our claims to the contrary, minorities are not feeling safe in the country", Mr Badal said while addressing the NIC meeting here.

"All political parties need to introspect and do some honest soul searching and find ways to re-orient their approach and their policies to address the concerns of minorities instead of harping on an artificial uniformty," he added.

''Not enough has been done to instill a sense of security in the minds of minorities and put in place a mechanism for this purpose,'' Mr Badal added.

Without naming the Orissa developments, Mr Badal said ''Our Constitution guarantees the freedom of conscience but much more than that is required strengthening of bonds of brotherhood among various communities.'' Further commmenting on the minorities issue, Mr Badal did not mince words and said ''Ignoring their significant contribution to the cause of securing and preserving the freedom of the country, the Sikhs have been treated most unfairly and condemned as traitors, thanks to the highly opportunist and dangerous political games of the rulers of the day.'' In an attempt to focus on alleged bid of the Congress rulers to create a separate Gurdwara Management Committee thereby dividing the Akali-controlled SGPC at Amritsar, Mr Badal said ''even now, the political opportunism of the past still shows its ugly face in some of the decisions concerning the Sikhs.'' The latest example, he said, ''is the dangerous move to try and divide the Sikh community by splitting their religious organisation Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and set up a separate committee outside Punjab".

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