COLOMBO: Sikhs in the Punjab have given an ultimatum to Indira Gandhi to restore Chandigarh to Punjab state or face violent uprisings. Akali leader, Sant Fateh Singh, in a strongly worded letter to Indira, asked her to spare the proud Punjabis a provocation to go through the furnace again. The menacing tone of Sant’s letter indicates that the average Sikh is prepared to lay down his life for Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of the adjoining Haryana state, Bansilal, said that Chandigarh belonged to Haryana and Punjabis had no claim. Bansilal emphasised that Haryana people would not accept compensation or compromise on Chandigarh. He rejected the division of Chandi­garh section to Punjab and the remainder to Haryana. The all-party Haryana Action Committee decided to stage a hartal next Thursday demanding Haryana.

In Amritsar, tension was mounting as Darshan Singh Pheruman’s condition weakened on the 35th day of his fast. His blood pressure dropped and legs benumbed. He was unable to get up and took four ounces of saltless water every two hours.

Political quarters fear bloodshed and revolts if Pheruman passes away while fighting for Chandigarh for Punjab. — Correspondent

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019