Deploy army to prevent any incident on SYL issue: Amarinder

Chandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS) With Haryana’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) adamant on starting digging of the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on Punjab-Haryana border on February 23, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh on Tuesday demanded army deployment.

It necessitates a crackdown on the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and its leaders before the situation goes out of hand, the former Punjab Chief Minister said.

He demanded preventive arrest of INLD leader Abhay Chautala and cancellation of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s parole to control the situation.

“The situation has escalated to dangerous proportions. Abhay’s adamant stand on the issue and his defiant threat to go ahead with the SYL incursion even if the army is called in, is ground enough for his preventive detention,” Amarinder said.

Reacting to the INLD leadership’s alleged open defiance of law and intelligence reports indicating revival of terrorism in Punjab over the SYL issue, Amarinder warned the situation could go out of hand if the INLD activists force their way into Punjab to dig the canal.

He said he had repeatedly warned earlier that the SYL issue held the “potential to trigger revival of terrorism in Punjab”, adding that intelligence reports endorsed his apprehensions.

Chautala said on Monday that the INLD will go ahead with its threat to dig the canal even if authorities call in the army to stop them.

Accusing the central and Haryana governments of being mute spectators to the tension created by the INLD in Haryana and Punjab, Amarinder said: “The central government should also immediately step in to order large-scale deployment of the armed forces ahead of the threatened move by the INLD.”

“Abhay Chautala’s defiant and provocative statements on the issue could have a long-term explosive impact on Punjab’s peace,” he added.

“Punjab is sitting on a virtual landmine, with intelligence reports suggesting that many of the sleeping terror cells were getting ready to raise their heads again,” Amarinder said, adding that terror outfits could exploit the situation.

Chautala, Leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly, blamed the state Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party government of not doing anything on the issue despite the Supreme Court ruling in favour of Haryana on water-sharing with Punjab.

Following a Presidential Reference, the Supreme Court in November last year held the passing of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Bill, 2004, by the Punjab assembly as “unconstitutional”.