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No way to step back, ready to face bullets: INLD on SYL

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Refusing any possibility of withdrawing its 10 July protest barring entry of Punjab's vehicles to Haryana, the principal opposition party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) on Saturday announced that it will continue to wage the 'water war' till the state gets its due share of water from the neighbouring state through the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

Senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala refuted the claims of Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma on withdrawing the protest scheduled for coming Monday and said, "SYL is the most important and biggest issue for us and we will continue our fight till Haryana gets its water from Punjab. There is no question of withdrawal. If needed, we are ready to face the bullets, but would give up."

Accusing Narendra Modi-led government at Centre of treating Haryana unfairly, Chautala said that despite the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in Haryana's favour, the Centre has not yet assigned the work for construction of the canal to any agency.

Talking on 10 July protest when vehicles belonging to Punjab would be barred from entering Haryana, Chautala said, "From the very beginning, the INLD has been raising the SYL issue on different fronts. Apart from, taking up the matter with the Centre, we have raised the issue in the State Legislative Assembly, we were arrested on Punjab border while our way to dig up canal in Punjab's area, even we were lathi charged in Delhi while our way to Parliament to submit our memorandum on the SYL issue. But when no development took place on it, we were left with not option but to stop Punjab vehicles from entering Haryana."

The INLD workers as claimed thousands in numbers would stop the neighbouring state's vehicles at five locations in district Ambala, Jind, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on 10 July.

However, the protest would be symbolic and no emergency vehicles, including ambulance and fire brigade vehicles, would not be stopped.

Besides, the Opposition commuters from Punjab would be returned with flowers apprehending them that in view of Punjab denying Haryana's due share of water, many of its areas are suffering from water woes.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government has sought 10 companies of paramilitary forces from Centre to maintain the law and order on 10 July. A high-level meeting between the senior officials from Haryana and Punjab also held in this regard on Friday.

The decades-old contentious issue between the two states again hit the headlines during the previous year when the Supreme Court on November 10, 2016, held as unconstitutional the 2004 Punjab Termination of Agreements Act passed by the Punjab State Legislative Assembly to terminate the SYL canal water sharing agreement with Haryana.

Tension escalated further when the Punjab cabinet decided to return the land acquired for the SYL canal project to its owners by de-notifying the acquired land with immediate effect.