Taran Taran, February 28: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement on the release of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan tomorrow, terming it a goodwill gesture that would help ease the prevailing tensions at the border. Interacting with BSF personnel at the Khalra observation post during a tour of the border areas as part of his confidence-building measures for the residents, the Chief Minister said the Pulwama attack by Pak-back terror forces was an act of cowardice, necessitating the retaliation by the Indian government.
He, however, hoped normalcy would return soon at the border. The Chief Minister extended all support on behalf of his government to the BSF to deal with the current situation in the aftermath of the IAF strikes on terror hideouts across the Line of Control (LoC). “We are there for you,” he told the BSF personnel. A nostalgic Captain Amarinder recalled his own days in the sector in 1965, when he was with the Indian Army, and said he still remembers his own 22 days in the region.
During his tour of the Tarn Taran region to assess the ground situation, the Chief Minister interacted with residents of at least 15 border area villages, including Shaheed Baba Tara Singh Wala, Rajoke, Kalia Shatara, Dholan, Lakhna and Kals. During his interaction with the residents, he urged them to remain calm and not to be swayed by rumours. Assuring the huge crowd that had gathered at village Mastgarh, just two Kilometers from the International Border to see him, the Chief Minister reaffirmed his commitment to ensure the safety and security of every citizen.
The Chief Minister, who shared lunch with them, urged one and all to guard against manufactured hysteria and not get waylaid by rumours. “The Punjab Government stands shoulder to shoulder with you in this critical hour,” Captain Amarinder told the residents in village Kals, urging them not to panic.
Earlier, Captain Amarinder Singh also visited the 14th BSF Batallion Headquarters at Khemkaran, the bravehearts of which are stationed along the international border, and was briefed about the overall defence preparedness by IG BSF Mahipal Yadav. He was assured that the force was fully prepared to thwart any untoward incident from across the border. Interacting with the bereaved family of Pulwama martyr Sukhjinder Singh of TaranTaran, the Chief Minister extended his condolences, assuring them of all possible support and assistance.
The Chief Minister, on his arrival at village Ghariala in TaranTaran district earlier, took stock of the situation and was briefed by top police and administrative brass regarding the prevailing situation and measures taken for the security of citizens. The Chief Minister asked the civil and police administration to work in coordination to prevail upon the border residents not to leave their homes in panic but to jointly hold meetings of village panchayats and prominent local residents to instill a sense of confidence.
Captain Amarinder Singh also impressed upon the residents not to be swayed by the false propaganda and desist from rumor mongering in the prevailing situation. Reiterating his government’s firm commitment to stand by the people of the border areas in the tense atmosphere, the Chief Minister said that he was in constant touch with the Centre and keeping a tab on the situation. The Chief Minister also informed the people that he had already directed the state Chief Secretary and DGP to stay in close touch with the district and police administration of the six border districts viz.
Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Fazilka and Pathankot, and work with them on the contingency plans, Meanwhile, in an informal chat with media, the Chief Minister said that during his visit to the border villages he found the morale of the people and forces very high. He said he had met officials and personnel from the Army and the BSF and they all were well prepared to deal with any situation.
He said during his visit several villagers had raised their problems with him and he will ensure that they are resolved at the earliest. “I’ve already instructed officers to visit the area tomorrow and resolve complaints relating to absence of teachers and doctors in schools and hospitals. The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Media Advisor Raveen Thukral and DGP Dinkar Gupta. Others present during the visit included MLA Patti Harminder Singh Gill, MLA TaranTaran Dr. Dharamveer Agnihotri, MLA Valtoha Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, former Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar, former MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, DGP Dinkar Gupta, IG SPS Parmar, Deputy Commisioner Tarn Taran Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal and SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal.