Amid rising radical Sikh violence, Congress drops idea to install Indira’s statue in Punjab

The Punjab district Congress committee has, as per reports, abandoned the idea to install Indira Gandhi’s statue at the Congress Bhawan in Ludhiana.

As per Vijay Agnihotri, the secretary of Punjab Youth Congress, this statue was scheduled to be installed on her death anniversary, which is today. Agnihotri had announced this plan at a press conference on Chandigarh.

The reason being given for shelving the plan is that the Congress wished to avoid a possible confrontation with Sikh radicals. The report too recorded that several Sikh organisations had started to oppose this plan and issued open warnings to the tune of their supporters resisting such an attempt.

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The President of the District Congress Committee, Gurpreet Bassi Gogi, called the plan as the individual sentiment of Vijay Agnihotri. Agnihotri too has now claimed the same and asserted that he had even sent invited to MLAs and senior leaders to attend the statue installation. He had also taken the pains to travel to Delhi for inviting prominent individuals.

He said nobody had raised any objections at the time, but he was informed on Monday that the installation won’t take place.

Bassi Gogi on the other hand has said that he took the decision to not install the statue after being notified of the plan. He also claimed that information regarding the plan wasn’t conveyed to party superiors.

The report has insinuated that the party seniors were advised by the police administration that the move might add to the prevailing tension.

In recent days, radical elements have started to make a bit of noise in Punjab.

These radical voices prominently found mention during AAP’s campaign leading up to the Punjab assembly elections. Back then we had carried a report about pro-Khalistani outfits infiltrating the party. There was also speculation about Gurmehar Kaur receiving support from certain fringe Sikh elements during her free speech episode.

Punjab has also become riddled with instances of Hindu leaders getting murdered. This includes the daylight murder of Ravindra Gosai the chief of one of RSS’s shakhas in Ludhiana, which took place on 17th October.

Just yesterday, Vipan Sharma the president of a Hindu outfit named Hindu Sangharsh Sena, too was shot dead by unknown assailants in Amritsar. He, as per accounts, was shot 7 times at about 2 PM by two unidentified men.

This murder means that a total 5 murders of Hindu leaders in the state have taken place in the last 2 years.

The case of Ravindra Gosai has been transferred to the NIA and it remains to be seen if all these are disjoint events or whether there is a larger conspiracy that is fueling rising tensions in Punjab.

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