NEW DELHI — Convince your friend “Imran bhai” to act against terrorists targeting India — is the advice from senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh to his party colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is at centre of a political row for his remarks following the Pulwama attack.
Digvijaya Singh’s tongue in cheek remarks on Tuesday come amid the controversy over the Punjab minister asking whether an entire nation could be blamed for an act by “a handful of people” while referring to the Pulwama terror strike, which evoked sharp reactions from people.
In a series of tweets, Digvijaya Singh asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to show “guts” and hand over Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar to India, terming them as “self-confessed perpetrators of terror”.
“Navjot Singh Sidhuji apne dost Imran bhai ko samjhaiye. Uskii vajah se aap ko gaali padh rahi hai (convince your friend Imran bhai. You (Sidhu) are being abused because of him),” the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said.
Sidhu, who made his political debut as a BJP MP in 2004 but joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab, had drawn flak last year when he visited Pakistan to attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Imran Khan and greeted the army chief of the neighbouring country with a hug.
The former cricketer’s latest remarks have evoked outrage in political circles as well as on the social media and he has also apparently been asked to leave a popular comedy show.
Digvijaya Singh also called for stopping “unnecessary persecution” of innocent Kashmiri students and traders across the country.
“Do we want Kashmir with the Kashmiris or without Kashmiris? We as a nation have to make a choice,” he said.
Digvijaya Singh said India as a nation has to seriously introspect how in last 71 years Kashmir, a valley of communal harmony of Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits brotherhood, has become a valley of communal strife and unrest.
“We are all to be blamed. Can’t we for sometime sweep our political differences under the carpet and come together to bring back the communal harmony and Kashmiri Muslim and Kashmiri Hindu brotherhood...which was the hallmark of J&K?” he said.
Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in J&K’s Pulwama district last week.