Dubbing Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan a “Khalistani sympathiser”, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said he would not meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan during the latter’s visit to India later this month.
“Harjit Sajjan is a Khalistani sympathiser,”
Amarinder alleged on the ‘Off the Cuff’ TV show by Shekhar Gupta. The chief minister claimed that there were, in fact, five ministers in the Justin Trudeau government who were Khalistani sympathisers and he would not have any truck with them.
They had prevailed upon the government to prevent my entry into Canada, where I wanted to go to meet my Punjabi brethren and not to campaign for elections,” he was quoted as saying in a release issued by his team after the programme.
Capt Amarinder, whose poll campaign in Canada was stalled last year in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections, had responded by accusing some Canadian ministers of having “Khalistani leanings” then too. The Canadian defence minister is expected to travel to India this month in his first visit since his appointment as minister
CM’s remark deplorable: Sukhbir
Terming Amarinder’s remark as irresponsible, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has asked Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to be large-hearted and not petty when dealing with Sajjan. In a statement issued on Thursday, Sukhbir said Amarinder should rather give him as much honour as the dignitary deserved. SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said the CM’s statement was driven by his ego. “Sajjan is not only a Canadian defence minister but a symbol of Punjabi diaspora, particularly Sikhs, who have made the community proud with their achievements in their respective countries,” said the MP.
Will welcome him: SGPC
Amritsar: Sikh leaders termed the CM’s remark terming Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan a Khalistani sympathiser as uncalled for. SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said the SGPC would accord a befitting welcome to “amritdhari” Sajjan on his visit to the Golden Temple. Former SAD general secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta said, “In case the CM does not welcome the Minister it will hurt the sentiments of the community.”
AAP: will honour Sajjan on his visit to Golden Temple
Taking on Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh over his refusal to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan citing the latter’s alleged Khalistani links, AAP today claimed that the CM had attended a function organised by alleged Khalistani sympathisers in Canada in May 2005.
AAP announced that it would organise a welcome function for Sajjan during his forthcoming visit to the state.HS Phoolka, Leader of Opposition, and senior AAP leader posted a photo of Amarinder speaking from a stage in Canada with “Khalistan Jindabad” slogan painted prominently in the background on Twitter. Phoolka said the CM had no locus standi to question Sajjan’s links with anyone when he himself had attended a function organised by Khalistani leaders.
Though Amarinder had clarified that he was not aware of the banner in the background, Phoolka sought an explanation from him. Phoolka said the CM had insulted a Sikh leader who rose to the rank of Defence Minister of a powerful and developed country. He said Captain’s refusal to meet him was deplorable as Sajjan was visiting the state to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, AAP chief whip, said the party would felicitate the Canadian minister as he represented Sikhs in Canada and it was an honour not just for Sikhs but for the entire Punjabi community.He said: “Amarinder ‘outburst’ against Sajjan proves that he is vindictive towards him. He (CM) wanted to take ‘revenge’ from NRIs in Canada as they did not welcome him during his pre-poll visit there.”