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Strict action against those involved in Punjab `sacrilege' cases: Rahul

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 15, 2019  | 20:33 IST

(Eds: Adds inputs from Ludhiana) Bargari/Ludhiana, May 15 (PTI) Intensifying his attack on the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday promised strict action against those involved in the 2015 desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib. Recalling his previous visit to the Punjab town, where the first incident of “sacrilege” took place and two people died in police firing at protesters, Gandhi said, “Your 'dharma' was disrespected.” Strict action will be taken against the perpetrators, he promised. “I give you a guarantee on this,” he said at an election rally at Bargari in Faridkot district. Later, Gandhi addressed another meeting in Ludhiana, where he continued attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The row over the 2015 incidents of desecration continues in Punjab with the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government, blaming the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state for it. At another Punjab rally on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi's sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had also tried to corner BJP’s ally SAD over the issue. The Congress focus on the desecration of religious scriptures comes at a time when the BJP has renewed its attack on the party over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, both emotive issues in state which goes to the polls on Sunday. At Gandhi’s rally, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a memorial in Bargari for those who lost their lives and suffered injuries in the 2015 police firing. Reacting to the Bargari rally, the Akali Dal accused the Congress of politicising the desecration of Sikh scriptures and also recalled the anti-Sikh riots, which took place around the time Rahul Gandhi's father Rajiv Gandhi took over as prime minister. Rahul Gandhi also taunted Modi for allegedly failing to keep poll promises, and contrasted the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government with that headed by Narendra Modi. "The PM thinks only one person can run the country, but actually it is the people who run it,” he said. At the Ludhiana rally, the Congress leader indirectly referred to Modi recently targeting Rajiv Gandhi. “Whatever you want to speak about my family, you can do so. If you want to abuse, you can also do that,” he said. "I belong to the Congress and I will reply to your hatred with love because that is in our DNA. That is the message I have learnt from the people of Punjab and that is what was taught by Guru Nanak Dev,” he said. He criticised Modi’s 2016 decision in 2016 to demonetise high-value currency, claiming it “destroyed” the economy. "Anywhere you go, people say, demonetisation was financial madness. Do not know what went through his mind. God knows what he had eaten the day he announced demonetisation,” Gandhi said. “Demonetisation dealt a blow to the Indian economy,” he said. Gandhi alleged the aim of demonetisation and the “Gabbar Singh Tax', which he said affected small and medium enterprises in Ludhiana as well, was to “finish” them and hand over their businesses to a few rich industrialists. Ridiculing Modi for his “pre-written” media interviews with “prepared answers”, Gandhi said he just talked about “irrelevant” things like how he eats mangoes and how he fits his clothes into the suitcase. Polling for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab will take place in the final phase of elections on May 19. PTI CHS SUN VSD ASH

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