Weeks After Split With BJP, Akali Leader’s Z-Plus Security Withdrawn

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Bikram Singh Majithia is the brother of former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. (FILE)

Chandigarh:

Less than two months after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the central government has withdrawn the “Z-Plus” category security cover for the party’s leader Bikram Singh Majithia.

A former minister mired in controversy, Mr Majithia is seen as a soft target given the attacks on the BJP by the leadership of the Akali Dal, sources in the party said. Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had recently criticised the centre for its treatment of minorities.

Lashing out at the NDA government, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “The SAD condemns the arbitrary, dictatorial and politically motivated decision of the BJP-led central government to withdraw the Z-plus category security cover of former minister and senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia.”

In a statement, Mr Cheema, also a senior SAD leader, alleged that Mr Majithia’s security cover had been withdrawn because the party had “stood firmly with farmers” against the centre’s farm laws and the denial of the official language status to Punjabi in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the SAD had voted against the centre’s farm laws in parliament besides quitting the union cabinet and the NDA over the issue.

“It is clear that Mr Majithia is a victim of political vendetta. The SAD, however, will not be cowed down by such tactics and will continue to stand with farmers and Punjabis against the central laws as well as any other issue which weakens the federal structure or is intrinsically anti-Punjab,” he said.

Mr Majithia is the brother of former Union Minister and SAD’s Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and brother-in-law of Sukhbir Singh Badal.

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“We have already seen how a senior Left leader and Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu was murdered in Tarn Taran recently after his security cover was withdrawn,” Mr Cheema said.

Warning that the Union Home Ministry would be held responsible for any incident after the withdrawal of Mr Majithia’s security cover, the SAD leader said, “This kind of action, which is designed to browbeat opponents, is a new low in Indian politics”.

He said while the security cover of Mr Majithia, who has often been targeted by anti-national elements, has been withdrawn, the central government has given Y-plus category security to film actor Kangana Ranaut.

“Security should not be given on the whims and fancies to people who sing the government’s tune. It is incumbent on the Home Ministry to explain on what grounds Mr Majithia’s security cover has been withdrawn suddenly after the SAD stood up against the Centre in support of the farming community,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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