Chandigarh, Sep 14 : Thanking the Narendra Modi-led Central government for slashing and effectively dumping the 'inhuman, insane and utterly discriminatory Black Lists of the Sikhs', Akali stalwart Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday described the decision as 'a far-sighted act of great statesmanship, which will strengthen the forces committed to preserving and promoting the spirit of federal diversity and tolerance in the country'.
In a statement here, Mr Badal said that he would personally have been very happy, if this and some other decisions, such as punishing the killers of Sikhs, including Sajjan Kumar and accused Kamal Nath had come during Dr Manmohan Singh's government. 'The SAD and the government headed by me, persistently asked for the Black Lists to be scrapped during Dr Sahib's tenure. But nothing happened.'
Refusing to be drawn into a race for 'claiming credit' for the NDA government's decision, Mr Badal said, "It would not behove me or anyone else in the SAD to claim credit for the decision because this is our own decision as we are a part of the NDA government at the highest Cabinet level and are a party to every decision.
'In addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has always been 'kind and gracious' in consulting me personally on all important decisions concerning Punjab and more especially those concerning the patriotic Sikh community.
'People may have forgotten, but Mr Modi had publicly promised at a global function in Ahmedabad in 2013 to restore the place of dignity and high respect to the brave and patriotic Sikh community. He was then responding to my request to move to the national politics, as I knew how positive and sensitive he has always been to the Sikh demands,' the five-times Punjab Chief Minister added.
He said that he had no problem with any Congress Chief Minister claiming credit for the NDA government's decision.
'But, it is very unfortunate that far from working to get the Black Lists of overseas Sikhs cancelled, the Chief Ministers of the Congress had insulted, cold shouldered and refused to meet even the non-Black Listed eminent NRI Sikhs like Harjit Singh Sajjan, who had been hosted by the Union Government.
'There is a problem with the Congress Sikh leaders' mindset about their own community. It is as if they suffer from a guilt complex for being Sikhs and Congressmen at the same time, and they try to cover this guilty and prove their loyalty to their High Command by anti-Sikh gestures, such as insulting the Canadian Sikh Ministers,' the veteran Akali leader alleged.
He said the decision on slashing the Black Lists was part of the vision, which envisaged restoration of pride of the Sikh community and ensuring justice to it, and this vision is reflected in many of the decisions of Mr Modi's government, notably in starting the process of punishing the guilty of the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs by the government-sponsored Congress goons in 1984.
The same approach has seen the Indian Government going out of its way, through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, to realise the dream of Sikh masses for 'Khulle Darshan Deedar and Seva Sambhal of our sacred and historic Gurdhams,' such as Nanakana Sahib," he added.
Mr Badal said that there is a basic and diametric difference between the Congress and the NDA governments on the 'political vision and approach' towards the Sikhs.
'BJP had paid a huge price for standing by the Sikh community during the horrific days of November 1984 massacre by the Congress goons. Congress had defamed this party by calling it a supporter of 'Gaddaars', the term which Rajiv Gandhi's followers used against the Sikhs, and BJP was reduced to just two MPs. We the Sikhs, have never forgotten the sacrifice this party made for us then,' he recalled.(UNI)