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Preventing Discord

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There is a point where political rivalry must give way to national interest. This has been arrived at in Punjab, where a number of provocative acts that have taken place seem to be directed at derailing the coming assembly elections and creating communal discord. The incidents of ‘beadbi’, as well as the blast in a Ludhiana court, were clearly planned to provoke certain sections of society into ill-considered responses. The fact that those accused of sacrilege were killed by infuriated ‘believers’ ensured that they could not be interrogated, and information obtained about the reasons for their actions. This has naturally made the task of investigative agencies more difficult.

It is good therefore that Chief Minister Channi has sought the help of central agencies in probing these incidents. Although there are conspiracy theorists inclined to blame the BJP and RSS for anything from the Mumbai to the Pulwama attacks, the consensus at present is that Khalistanis backed by Pakistan are trying to vitiate the political atmosphere in the border state. They hope that by rousing communal sentiments and creating uncertainties there will be trouble, which would help their goals.

While the intelligence and security agencies will do what is required of them, it is in the hands of the general public to give a fitting reply to such elements by delivering a well-considered verdict in the coming elections. They must rise above party affiliations, not be distracted by promised freebies, and choose individuals with a clean record and clear approach towards national security. Punjab has always been at the forefront of the nation’s defence and suffered much in the process. All the hard times endured in the past should not be forgotten and the right direction chosen to get out of the present crisis.

The trouble-makers are miniscule in number and care little for the well-being of the state or the people. They haven’t a hope in hell of achieving their declared objectives. It is only confusion and differences among the politicians that are providing them the space to operate. Once this reality is recognised, they can be removed from the equation with ease. Being the dominant community in the state, the Sikhs must once again take the lead and deal decisively with the problem. The stakes are too high to be confused at this point.