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Let Punjab frame amnesty scheme: Chidambaram

Attari (Punjab), Feb 20 (Calcutta Tube) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday said that the centre could consider amnesty for Sikh youths, who had taken to militancy earlier, if the Punjab government drew a scheme on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters here after laying the foundation stone of the integrated check post (ICP) at the international border with Pakistan, Chidambaram said that the centre could consider an amnesty scheme for Sikh youths if the Punjab government drew up a plan.

The home ministry had recently announced an amnesty scheme for Jammu and Kashmir youths, who had taken to militancy, to return to the mainstream if they renounced militancy.

He said that the centre would be happy to accommodate such Sikh youths provided they renounce militancy and the separatist demand for Khalistan (a separate Sikh homeland).

The state’s ruling Akali Dal and even Congress leaders in Punjab have demanded that there should be an amnesty scheme on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir to enable Sikh youths, who had once taken to militancy and were now living in other countries, to return to India.

Asked about the blacklisted people from Punjab who have been barred from returning to India, the home minister said it would be reversed if these people are ready to renounce militancy and give up the demand for Khalistan.

The home minister said that he would look into the continuation of the Disturbed Area Act in Punjab despite the fact that the state has been peaceful since 1995.

–Indo-Asian News service

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