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The Congress Party on Tuesday backed Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's assertion that Harjit Singh Sajjan was a Khalistani sympathizer and urged the nationalist BJP-led government to seek a clarification in this regard from the visiting Canadian Defence Minister.
Surjewala told ANI that Sajjan and his father have been active in the World Sikh Organisation, a Canada-based organisation.
"India and Canada have been friends since decades. We are together in the G 20 and we are also together on fighting terrorism and maintain world peace. But visiting Canadian Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan has been demanding a separate state 'Khalistan' through the World Sikh Organisation," said Surjewala.
Putting the ball in the government's court, the Congress leader said the ruling dispensation must ask Sajjan whether he supports the cause of Khalistan or supports the cause of India.
"A party like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swears by nationalism must understand, must investigate in the interest of country whether such a person who is visiting India has or doesn't have faith in the integrity of the country," asserted Surjewala.
The Punjab Chief Minister had earlier dubbed the visiting minister as a Khalistani sympathiser, who supports a Sikh nationalist movement demanding an independent state for the Sikh people.
He also said that he would not hold a meeting with the visiting minister.
Sajjan, however, today said that he would propose a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister as courtesy, adding it is up to the latter to decide his acceptance or refusal.
"I have been taught to show courtesy to the leadership of a country and I do this around the world. It is my responsibility to offer up a meeting (to the Captain) and if he decides he doesn't want to meet me ..that's for them to figure out. My actions and services speak for me..there is no ill will from me," he told the media here.
He added that his motive to visit Punjab is to pay respects to the place he was born at and to pay respect to the Harmandir Sahib.
"I'm not going to get into petty politics of one Chief Minister or any province my reason of going to Punjab is to pay respect to.as I'm a Sikh and pay respect to the village I was born in. I'm very very proud of my routes," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)