Those out to disturb peace will be dealt with an iron hand: CM

Reacting to the acts of violence in Batala over the publication of a "sacrilegious" poster of Jesus Christ, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the SAD-BJP government would not allow anyone in the state to disrespect any religion and take the law into their hands.

"Some forces are out to disturb communal harmony and peace in the state in a calculated manner. But the government is committed to maintaining peace at any cost," said Badal, who was in the city for the foundation stone laying ceremony of Government College, Ghuddha. on Sunday. "Such forces will be dealt with an iron hand. The people of Punjab should also oppose such forces that emerge as a threat to peace in the state," the CM added.

Badal said one person had been rounded up by the police in connection with the photo controversy and a probe is being conducted into whether the incident was a planned conspiracy. In his speech, Badal accused the Congress of engineering "such incidents which posed a threat to peace in the state".

Speaking on the proposal allowing amnesty to Sikh youth, who took to militancy earlier, the CM said the government had already provided the Union government with a list of the youths who want to return to Punjab and join mainstream society. Referring to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's offer of reviewing the case of blacklisted Sikh NRIs, Badal said the state government will take up the matter with the Centre.

Slamming the Union government for the fertiliser price hike, Badal said the decision would prove fatal for the farming community that is already weathering a major crisis.

Need thorough probe into Batala incident: Amarinder
Reacting to the violent clashes that took place in Batala on Saturday, former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said a thorough probe into the incident, to ascertain if there was any political motive behind the incident, was the need of the hour. He said such incidents were increasing by the day and the state government seems to have lost control. "We provided peace during our five years of governance. These three years of SAD-BJP rule has witnessed a spate of such condemnable incidents," said Amarinder. He accused the ruling Akali Dal of polarising the Sikh for political motives. "It is important to probe the genesis of the clashes," he added.

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