Chandigarh, October 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has disappointed Punjab all this time but Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal never loses an opportunity to hail him. It was no different today at the inauguration of the war memorial on the Amritsar-Attari road to Lahore. Galaxy of top retired personnel were present to grace the occasion at the dedication ceremony. The inauguration was followed by a public conclave at Amritsar. This memorial has been claimed to be first of its kind in the country. Badal has created a record in constructing memorials.
As Badal virtually challenged Pakistan, the India hockey team recorded 3-2 win over Pakistan in Asia cup. Shiv Sena goons perhaps forgot to warn the Indian team against playing against Pakistan after their first victory in Mumbai. Bollywood has succumbed to their threats, despite the fact that this body has just one MLA in Maharashtra. This was the first time that the teams from these two countries were playing against each other after the surgical strike in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in Pakistan.
Punjab can’t afford war and the saner people on the two sides of Zero Line crave for peace. They are the people who paid too heavy a price during partition. They also know the cost of war. This sentiment is too well known to Badal and company. But then Badal was all praise for Modi for the surgical strike without naming him.
A 150-foot high steel sword has been erected as part of the memorial. Its edge faces Pakistan. It is symbolism that matters.
It is not just the BJP leaders who give all credits for success of surgical strike to Modi and the Sangh Parivar. Badal has also joined the race. Modi has not come to the rescue of beleaguered Punjab on any issue and rather it is this government that has resorted to arm twisting.
As per Badal, it was the role of the leadership that is very important and in case the leadership (read Pt Jawaharlal Nehru) had asserted when tribals attacked Kashmir after partition, there would not have been any Kashmir problem. The army needed just four more days to throw out the invaders but permission was denied.
He said now the political leadership had asserted and taken the right decision at the right time and hence the success of the surgical strike. Badal went to the extent of issuing stern warning to Pakistan saying in case of any provocation, the Indian army would give a befitting reply.
The only state where people were put to harassment following surgical strike was Punjab where border villages were ordered to be evacuated within about three hours.
Jingoists who raise the war cry don’t join the armed forces. It is people from economically weaker sections who seek job in the armed forces. Army is chronically facing shortage of officers. These politicians and Shiv Seniks and the anchors fighting war from their studios should contribute at least one family member to serve the country in armed forces. The Shiv Seniks can form the second line of defence in Punjab. At one time, the Punjabis constituted about 30 per cent of the armed forces.
India and Pakistan hockey teams faced each other in Malaysia in the evening causing a lot of excitement. There was no tension on astro turf and both the teams played it cool. That should be the spirit. But then this would not have been possible in case the venue had been Mumbai.
This match should serve as a strong message to the war mongers who have nothing to lose. Punjab is the land where Pakistani artists and traders are always welcome. Badal was raising the pitch from this very soil apparently to appease Modi, one does not know for what. These leaders should stop politicisation of purely an army action as it can have far reaching repercussions. The ultra-nationalists are already vitiating the atmosphere.
Badal overlooks the fact that the Sikhs yearn for free access to their shrines in Pakistan in their daily prayer.