Chandigarh: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said the Centre was keeping a close watch on the situation in Punjab in the wake of a move to set up a memorial in Golden Temple for those killed during Operation Blue Star.
The Home Minister said that the Centre was also keeping a tab on the incidents that took place across Punjab against the death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana, the assassin of former chief minister Beant Singh.
Sharing the concern of Congress leaders at a special meeting at the Punjab Pradesh Congress office in Chandigarh, he said he was seized of the move to set up the memorial inside the Durbar Sahib Complex and had raised the issue with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Chidambaram said the Chief Minister had told him that he or his government had nothing to do with it as it was being done by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhik Committee.
He said Badal had also told him that it was not really a memorial but a Gurdwara which was being built and there would not be any photograph of anybody inside it.
Congress leaders disputed Badal's claims and told Chidambaram that the SGPC was under direct control of Badal's party, the Shiromani Akali Dal.
They expressed fear that the move could resurrect militancy in Punjab and said people believed that the Akali-BJP government was encouraging it.
A Congress leader told Chidrambaram, "Allowing, rather facilitating the Operation Blue Star Memorial, and letting people roam freely seeking pardon to Rajoana had created fear psychosis among the minorities in Punjab."
Punjab PCC chief Amarinder Singh said he had suggested that there should be a memorial outside the Darbar Sahib Complex for those killed during militancy.
The Operation Blue Star was launched by the army in 1984 to flush out holed-up Sikh militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, who was killed along with his associates in the Golden Temple.
Chidambaram also said that he will raise the issue of the reports of alleged victimisation and police atrocities on Congress workers with Badal.
He expressed surprise over the non-existence of a Police Complaints Authority in the state although Punjab government has been claiming to have already set up it.
Earlier, Punjab Congress leaders particularly CLP leader Sunil Jakhar and PCC vice president Ashwani Sekhri apprised him of certain cases of alleged police atrocities and high handedness towards party workers.
The Congress leaders sought the Home Minister's urgent intervention to stop the Akali-BJP government from "harassing and intimidating" their workers.
They also suggested that all central grants that came to the state should be equitably distributed and the funds should be strictly monitored.
They complained that all these grants were allocated to areas represented by the ruling alliance and Congress dominated areas got ignored.
Chidambaram was accompanied by two other Union ministers - Ambika Soni and Pawan Kumar Bansal - during the meeting with Congress leaders from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.