With Sukhbir Singh Badal blaming Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for the Amritsar hand grenade attack, the latter warned the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president on Tuesday against “playing with fire” by undermining the growing threat of revival of terrorism backed by cross-border forces.

The CM said this was not the time for any political party or leader to play politics over the issue but to join hands with the government in fighting the menace and protecting Punjab from the renewed threat of revival of terrorism, he said, accusing the SAD chief of playing with the religious sentiments of the people by promoting vested interests.

Reacting sharply to Sukhbir’s accusation that he (Amarinder) was responsible for the grenade attack, the CM said the SAD chief, in his desperate bid to divert attention from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe against him in the Bargari sacrilege case, was resorting to cheap and petty politicking.

Pointing out that Bargari was the creation of the Badals-led SAD, Amarinder said his government was trying to clean up the mess and the SIT formed by it was investigating the matter thoroughly.

Clearly cornered by these investigations, Sukhbir was indulging in frivolous political games, the CM said, lambasting the Akali president for his “thoughtless and frivolous” statements on a serious issue, which he said had the potential of once again plunging Punjab into the dark days of terrorism.

Amarinder expressed shock at the “repeated attempts by the Badals to exploit religion” to divide the people of the state, “unmindful of the devastating effects this could have in the long term”.

He said while his government was going all out to fight radical and extremist elements, which were trying to destabilise the state at the behest of ISI-backed Khalistani and Kashmiri terrorist groups, the Akalis were indulging in politics over the serious issue.

It was typical of the Badals, he said, to use religion to further their personal and political ambitions. “And this trait had assumed grave proportions since they were unceremoniously ousted from power by the people of Punjab, who had seen through their deceitful games and voted en masse against them,” the CM added.

Amarinder also came down heavily on Sukhbir for targetting the Gandhi family and seeking to hold them responsible for the recent incidents involving terrorist forces in Punjab.

“It was ridiculous to even contemplate that the Gandhis, who had been the worst victims of terrorism in the country, could think of promoting or encouraging radical forces in any way,” said the CM.

He said Sukhbir’s allegations against the Gandhis smacked of sheer desperation and frustration at the complete alienation of the Badals, not just at the hands of the people but also by senior Akali leaders.

The SAD chief had on Monday said the tragic attack was a direct fallout of the chief minister’s policy to support radicals and even use them to marginalise the mainstream moderate Akalis.