Radical Sikh leader demands ‘buffer state’ status for Punjab

February 24th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 24 (IANS) Radical Sikh leader, Simranjit Singh Mann Tuesday demanded that Punjab be declared a ‘buffer state’ with its own independent government, given its sensitive location between India and Pakistan.
Addressing media here, Mann, who also heads the Akali Dal (Amritsar) said: “We want peace to prevail between India and Pakistan but the present conditions point towards a certain war between the two countries. Even our national leaders are giving intolerant statements everyday.”

“If war happens then Punjab will be at the receiving end because of its vulnerable position between the two countries. So we demand a buffer state status for Punjab so that it will act as a shield between India and Pakistan,” said Mann.

He said that both India and Pakistan possess nuclear bombs and in case of war, they could also use them. In such a situation, “Punjab would be affected most because of its close proximity” to the two neighbouring countries, he added.

“Health, education, power and agriculture infrastructure is in a wretched state in Punjab. We can improve them only if we have our own government without any outside interference. Demand for a buffer state will top the agenda of our party in the forthcoming elections,” said Mann.

Mann, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is known for his radical views, has been booked earlier by the state police on sedition and other charges.

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