On May 14, Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, fulfilled Congress’s poll promise of declaring Malerkotla as a district in Punjab. He wrote, “Happy to share that on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, my Govt has announced Malerkotla as the newest district in the state. The 23rd district holds huge historical significance. Have ordered to immediately locate a suitable site for the district administrative complex,” on his Twitter account after making the announcement.
Happy to share that on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, my Govt has announced Malerkotla as the newest district in the state. The 23rd district holds huge historical significance. Have ordered to immediately locate a suitable site for the district administrative complex. pic.twitter.com/9j6pNRgXWC— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) May 14, 2021
Congress has promised to make Malerkotla a district
Malerkotla is a Muslim-dominating region. According to the 2011 census, the population of Malerkotla stands at 1,35,424, out of which 92,765 are Muslims making it 68.50% of the total population. The population of Hindus stands at 20.71%, while Sikhs comprise 9.5% of the city’s population. During Assembly elections in 2017, Congress had promised to make the city a district that has been demanded by Muslims for a long time. After Congress won the election, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had again announced on Eid 2017 that Congress would soon fulfill the promise.
Historians claim no communal tension took place in Malerkotla in 1947
As per historians and locals, during the 1947 riots after the partition, Malerkotla was one of those cities where no communal tension took place. Punjab and adjoining states were among the most affected by those riots due to their proximity to Pakistan.
Stories of communal harmony date back to the 1700s
It is believed that when Governor of Sirhind, Wazeer Khan, ordered to bury alive two sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji in walls, Nawab of Malerkotla and cousin of Wazeer Khan, Sher Mohammad Khan, was present in his court. He had objected to the decision and allegedly said his decision was against Islam.
Wazeer did not pay heed to his objection and buried 9-years-old Sahibzada Fateh Singh and 7-years-old Sahibzada Zorawar Singh. Sher Khan left his court to mark his objection. It is claimed that When Guru Gobind Singh Ji came to know about the incident, he thanked Sher Mohammad Khan for standing for his sons and blessed him. Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed the people and ruler of Malerkotla to live in peace and happiness.
The story was also narrated by CM Singh while announcing Malerkotla as district. He also mentioned the dargah of Sufi Saint Baba Haider Shaeikh, which is one of the most prominent places of worship in the city.
[Live] from the State Level Program to greet the people of Punjab on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. https://t.co/ZJ3OT5AgPf— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) May 14, 2021
The process of bringing villages under Malerkotla will take time
During the announcement, CM Singh said that the process of bringing villages under Malerkotla would begin once the census operations are completed in the state. He ordered the Sangrur deputy commissioner to mark a suitable building to set up a district administration office. The appointment of the district commissioner will be completed soon for Malerkotla. He also announced a medical college in the district, which will be named after Sher Mohammad Khan, Nawab of Malerkotla. A new bus stand will also be constructed for which the government has already sectioned Rs.10 crore. Several other projects were announced by the CM.
A case of appeasement politics
Soon after the announcement, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, and CM Singh had a war of words over Twitter. CM Yogi said, “Any distinction based on religion is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution of India. Formation of Malerkotla is a reflection of the divisive policy of the Congress party.”
मत और मजहब के आधार पर किसी प्रकार का विभेद भारत के संविधान की मूल भावना के विपरीत है।— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) May 15, 2021
इस समय, मलेरकोटला (पंजाब) का गठन किया जाना कांग्रेस की विभाजनकारी नीति का परिचायक है।
The state irked CM Singh, who called it a “Shameless bid to incite communal disharmony in Punjab.” He asked CM Yogi to stay out of Punjab’s affairs and focus on protecting his own people in UP.
Shameless bid to incite communal disharmony in Punjab, says Punjab CM @capt_amarinder Singh on UP CM @myogiadityanath’s Malerkotla tweet. Captain asks Yogi to stay out of Punjab’s affairs & focus on protecting his own people in UP.— CMO Punjab (@CMOPb) May 15, 2021
He said, “What does he know of Punjab’s ethos or the history of Malerkotla, whose relationship with Sikhism and its Gurus was known to every Punjabi? And what does he understand of the Indian Constitution, which is being brazenly trampled every day by his own government in UP?”