Congress' Punjab unit President Amarinder Singh today accused the Badal government of "complicity" in the Nabha jailbreak and said it has exposed a "complete breakdown of law and order" and triggered fears of revival of terrorism in the state ahead of the Assembly polls.
The "shocking manner" in which the gangsters walked into the high-security jail and freed a dreaded Khalistani terrorist, along with four others, clearly showed complicity at the highest levels, he said.
Talking to reporters during the second day of the second phase of his roadshow, he said the law and order situation in the state had "deteriorated to unprecedented levels" under the Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls.
Armed men in police uniform today stormed the high-security Nabha Jail in Patiala district, opening indiscriminate fire and fleeing with five prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.
The rescue of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief clearly suggested an active effort from across the border to revive terrorism in Punjab, he alleged and expressed fears of terror attacks and other violent incidents in the state ahead of the polls.
"The gangsters seemed to have driven fearlessly to the prison, entered in police fatigues and escaped with Mintoo and the others, all hardcore gangsters, without being stopped, clearly indicating that it was a pre-planned assault managed with the complicity of the highest authorities," he said.
He accused the Badal government of playing into the hands of the enemies of the nation and allowing the situation to come to such a pass where terrorists could walk out of high-security prisons so effortlessly.
He demanded beefing up of security across the state to prevent recurrence of such incidents and strong measures to catch Mintoo and the others gangsters.
(DES 25) The Punjab Congress president dismissed the suspension of jail officials by the Badal government in the wake of the jail break as mere eyewash, aimed at befooling the people.
He also expressed grief at the reported killing of a woman in firing by the police at a picket set up to chase the absconding gangsters. "As usual, it was the innocent who were suffering while the real culprits had escaped," he added. Amarinder said the law and order situation in the state had deteriorated to "unprecedented" levels under the Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls, which could not be conducted in a free and fair manner under the current dispensation. Expressing fears of revival of terrorism and other incidents of violence ahead of the polls, he said Khalistani terrorists were being fed across the border, in Lahore, by the Pakistani government, while the Badal government was "playing into their hands by allowing hardcore terrorists to walk effortlessly out of high-security prisons". He demanded beefing up of security across the state to prevent recurrence of such incidents and strong measures to catch Mintoo and the others gangsters. The Punjab Congress chief said all 117 candidates for the party for the coming state Assembly elections will be announced in the first week of December. Amarinder dismissed AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's charges of Swiss bank accounts against his family members as the rantings of an "idiot", who does not think before speaking. Asked about Kejriwal's Dalit deputy CM promise, the Punjab Congress chief said it was yet another of the AAP leader's fake promises and urged him to first clear the air on chief ministership before talking of the deputy chief minister. The Congress, he said, had always looked out for the interests of the Dalits and would continue to do so. In response to a query on demonetisation, Amarinder said the sufferings of the people told their own story and no excuse or justification from the prime minister could negate those sufferings, and in some cases even death. Meanwhile, Punjab Congress Legislature Party chief Charanjit Singh Channi said that formation of SIT by the Badal Government is mere an eyewash. The matter should be handed over to a sitting judge of the high court with a time bound probe. He said the Akali Dal-BJP government in the state had no right to continue after the daring attack on the maximum security Nabha jail where notorious criminals and terrorists are lodged.