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Punjab CM backs questioning of Kartarpur pilgrims

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Chandigarh, Feb 29: A day after the opposition targeted the Congress-led government over the issue of questioning of some Kartarpur Sahib pilgrims, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh backed the Punjab Police's action and said it acted on the request of the Intelligence Bureau in the interest of national security.

"Had the Gurdaspur police failed to act, I would have taken strict action against them," Singh informed the House in the ongoing budget session here.

File photo of Amarinder Singh

They took action in the interest of national security, he said.

The Punjab Assembly on Thursday had witnessed uproarious scenes over the questioning of a few devotees upon their return from the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan by the Punjab Police, with the opposition targeting the government for allegedly "harassing" the pilgrims.

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The chief minister said police acted within permissible limits of functioning in the matter.

He was responding to a question over the issue by AAP legislator Kultar Singh Sandhwan.

Singh said his government will cooperate with central agencies in the larger interest of the national security as and when required.

If police force fail to act in accordance with the established security mechanism in coordination with the central agencies, action would be taken against them, he said.

The chief minister pointed out that over 51,000 pilgrims had already paid obeisance after opening of the Kartarpur corridor and this was the first such instance of devotees being questioned.

The IB had in this case raised some doubts and asked the state police for assistance in ensuring the credentials of some of the pilgrims for security reasons, he added.

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In view of its sensitive border location, the state was duty bound to work closely with central agencies to ensure the country's security, he further said.

On Thursday, jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had informed the House that the pilgrims were questioned after the directions came from the central agency, Intelligence Bureau, in Amritsar.

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