Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, slamming the state government for its repeated denials of any severe security challenges, said on Wednesday that something was wrong and dangerous happening at the borders, which the state could not afford to ignore.
He dismissed claims that the Border Security Force (BSF) would take over the state’s administration or deploy at the Golden Temple, saying that such rumours were spread by certain people in the run-up to the Assembly elections to gain brownie points.
“The BSF is here for helping maintain national security as we are a border state,” he said, calling for full support by the state to the Centre in the interest of national security.
Addressing a press conference here, Amarinder Singh said he was not an alarmist but his experience in the Indian Army and as chief minister of the state told him that “something is going to happen”.
“Yet a home minister who has been in his chair for one month claims to know more than me!” he quipped, taking a dig at Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.
“Sleeper cells of the Pak ISI and Khalistani forces are creating trouble, technology is becoming more advanced. The capacity and range of drones are increasing, first, they came in just 5-6 km from the border, now they reach 31 km,” he pointed out.
“We have to be very careful of the clandestine war from across the borders,” he added.
Amarinder Singh emphasised that it was the responsibility of every accountable administration to combat such threats, addressing those who mocked his national security concerns. Instead of dismissing the threat, he believes the state administration should present the facts to the people and enlist their participation in gathering information.
It should own up to the threat and take the appropriate steps to counter it, he said, adding that it appears the political parties were not fully briefed during the all-party meeting convened on the subject.
While the Punjab Police was first-rate and well-trained force, it was not equipped to deal with such threats, according to the former Chief Minister, who stated that they needed the help of the BSF and the CRPF to deal with the situation.
He noted that even during the height of terrorism, the army stepped in to assist, and no one took over the state government’s duties. He said the BSF’s support was critical to keeping peace in Punjab, adding that the state has been through a lot and no one wanted it to go through it again.
(With IANS inputs)