The Center has asked Punjab to pay Rs 7.5 crore for sending troops to Pathankot

In another brutal attack against the central government, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that the Narendra Modi-led Center had asked the state to pay Rs 7.5 crore for sending troops during the 2016 Pathankot attack.

Mann was speaking at a one-day special session of the first session of the 16th Punjab Legislative Assembly. A proposal requesting the Center to relocate Chandigarh to Punjab was also moved by the standards and was unanimously adopted and passed.

Referring to the “indifferent” treatment of Punjab by the Center, Mann described the incident in 2016 and said that the state police forces along with the Central Security Forces had avenged the heroic attack and helped eliminate the terrorists without thinking of their personal security. But, he said, to his complete surprise, the Center has raised a bill of Rs 7.50 crore to provide central security forces to the state in this regard.

He said the amount was eventually waived due to personal intervention by then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, when he and AAP leader Sadhu Singh met him.

“It is highly contradictory that large sums of money are being paid for the security of the border state which is a victim of terrorism,” he added.

Mann further said that he had asked Rajnath Singh in writing that Punjab was not part of the country and the army had hired him. The army came during the Pathankot attack. Later I received a letter saying that Punjab would have to pay Rs 7.5 crore for sending troops. Sadhu Singh and I went to Rajnath Singh and asked him to remove me from my MPLAD but gave in writing that Punjab is not part of the country and hired army from India, ”Mann told the assembly.

In 2016, four terrorists were killed after a suicide attack on the Pathankot base of the Indian Air Force on the night between 1 and 2 January. In the 80-hour gun battle, seven security personnel were also killed.

In a special session of the Punjab Assembly, in response to the Chandigarh motion, BJP MLA Ashwani Sharma walked out of the assembly in protest, while opposing and discussing the motion.

Mann said the AAP-led government would use all channels rather than advance appointments from the Center to pressurize the Prime Minister and Home Minister to take Punjab’s fight for “legitimate rights” to its logical conclusion.

He criticized the BJP-led central government and its leadership, alleging that it was leaning towards the politics of revenge in states like Punjab, Delhi and West Bengal where it had failed to get the mandate of the people.

(With input from IANS and PTI)

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