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Hindutva groups complains,Imran praised Sidhu visit

25 August, 2018

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NEW DELHI: Hindutva groups have slammed former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa recently.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has praised Mr Sidhu’s friendly gesture for being present at the swearing-in ceremony where the latter embraced Gen Bajwa who had made friendly comments about peace between the two countries.

Rightwing activist Sudhir Kumar Ojha, known for indicting celebrities, alleged in a petition filed with Muzaffarpur’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Hari Prasad that Mr Sidhu insulted the families of Indian soldiers killed by Pakistan’s army by hugging General Bajwa and sitting next to Azad Kashmir’s president Masood Khan on Saturday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Mr Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan, especially his hug with Pakistan army chief, was “shameful”. Mr Sidhu is a minister in the Congress government in Punjab.

Mr Sidhu clarified his stand on the issue.

“If someone (referring to Gen Bajwa) comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary), what else I could do?”

Mr Sidhu while responding to the media queries: “If you are invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there,” he added.

Mr Ojha said it was unbecoming of Sidhu to attend the celebrations in the neighbouring country at a time when the nation was mourning the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“I have urged the court to book Siddhu under IPC sections 124 A, 153 B and 504 for hurting the nation’s sentiments and order for his arrest,” he said.

Imran Khan on Tuesday came out in support of Mr Sidhu. “I want to thank Sidhu for coming to Pakistan for my oath taking. He was an ambassador of peace and was given amazing love and affection by people of Pakistan,” Mr Khan tweeted soon after Sidhu’s press conference.

“Those in India who targeted him are doing a great disservice to peace in the subcontinent — without peace, our people cannot progress,” Mr Khan said.

To move forward, he said Pakistan and India must engage in dialogue and resolve their conflicts, including the Kashmir issue. “The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading,” he said.

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