Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has reacted to minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s remark on Pakistan after Pulwama terror attack, saying he didn’t understand the “intricacies” of the defence sector. The leader, who has had difference of opinion with Mr Sidhu over Pakistan, said he had served in the Army whereas the minister was a cricketer.
Mr Sidhu, who calls himself a friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, was slammed by the opposition after he said that an entire nation cannot be blamed for the act committed by terrorists.
Amarinder Singh said Mr Sidhu’s intentions were not “anti-national”.
“Sidhu was a cricketer while I was a soldier, and both have different viewpoints on things,” he was quoted by news agency IANS as saying.
“Sidhu does not understand defence intricacies and had possibly reacted out of friendly motive,” he added.
Mr Sidhu and Amarinder Singh, though colleagues in the Punjab government, are world apart as far as views on dealing with Pakistan are concerned. Their opinions differed when Mr Sidhu had gone to Pakistan for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Mr Singh had said that he had asked Mr Sidhu to reconsider visiting the country.
“Sidhu told me he had already committed himself to going. When I informed him of the stand I had taken on the issue, he said it was his personal visit but he would get back to me. But I did not hear from him,” Mr Singh had said.
While Mr Sidhu defended his comments today, saying that terrorism had no community, Mr Singh took a more aggressive stance on the Pulwama attack as he said for every soldier killed, security forces must kill two terrorists.
“We should get 82 of them since 41 of our men have been killed,” said Captain Singh, who was an army officer before joining politics. He demanded an “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.
Over 40 soldiers were killed last week when a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist rammed a vehicle carrying explosives into their bus in Pulwama.
India has exerted diplomatic and trade pressure on Pakistan, by scrapping the Most Favoured Nation tag to the country, and enhancing duty on goods imported from there.
The Congress has also reacted to Mr Sidhu’s statement, saying nobody had the freedom to cross the limits.
“There is of course complete freedom of speech in this country, but everybody especially in public life, a ”karyakarta” or otherwise, owes it to himself and to the nation to speak, act, express, totally in sync with and in keeping with the public sentiment,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi was quoted by PTI as saying.
“I don’t think anyone of us have that freedom to cross the limits of that sentiment and that is a matter of self imposed discipline and maturity which I am sure each one of us must and will practice,” he added.
With inputs from agencies