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Home » Exclusives » Bhullar row: PM Modi cancels Punjab trip

Bhullar row: PM Modi cancels Punjab trip

Narendra-ModiNamrata Biji Ahuja:

New Delhi: Amid a raging controversy over dreaded terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s return to a prison in Punjab, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled his scheduled visit to the state. The Bhullar controversy has once again put BJP-SAD ties under strain as the 1993 Delhi bomb blasts case convict was shifted to Amritsar Central Jail from Delhi’s Tihar Jail amid tight security on Friday.

Bhullar’s controversial transfer to the Amritsar prison has come despite objections from Central intelligence agencies which cited serious security concerns over such a move.

The move to bring Bhullar back to Punjab is being seen as a sudden shift of stand by the Akali-BJP government towards Sikh militants lodged in various jails across India.

The Intelligence Bureau, in its advice to the MHA, had cited national security concerns and warned that Bhullar may once again become a rallying point for radical pro-Khalistan fringe elements in the state. Assembly elections are due in Punjab next year.

However, top sources said the Union home ministry cleared the request after the AAP government in Delhi threw the ball in the Centre’s court, saying the AAP had no objection. While the Akalis are now upbeat about their success in bringing Bhullar back to the state, the BJP-led Central government is trying to steer clear of any controversy.

Mr Modi, who was slated to visit one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines, Anandpur Sahib, on June 19 on its 350th establishment day, has cancelled his visit. Instead the Union home minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, will visit Punjab, top sources said.

Official sources, however, said Mr Modi had a sudden change in schedule following which the home minister would visit the state.

In 2009 the Punjab government had rejected a similar appeal by Bhullar’s lawyer to shift him to a state prison.

(Courtesy: The Asian Age)