Shahkot: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was stalling the release of Bandi Singhs Gurmeet Singh Engineer and Bhai Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, even as he appealed to Punjabis to support the signature campaign being extended to seek the release of the Sikh detainees to villages on February 18 wholeheartedly.

Talking to newsmen here, the SAD President said the AAP government in Punjab had come in the way of the premature release of Gurmeet Singh Engineer, who had recently been let out on parole after 27 years in prison. He said that since Engineer was incarcerated in the Burail jail in Chandigarh the UT administration had written to the Patiala district magistrate seeking the latter’s report on the premature release application on the Bandi Singh. “The AAP government in its report said Gurmeet Singh Engineer was a man of evil mind who was an expert in bomb making and that there was a probability of his involvement in terrorist activities if released”.

Sukhbir Badal said earlier the AAP government in Delhi had rejected the release application of Prof Devenderpal Singh Bhullar four times. “Both actions show that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is against the release of the Bandi Singhs and will go to any extent to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community”.

Badal also announced that Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Harjinder Singh Dhami will launch the extension of signature campaign drive seeking the release of the Bandi Singhs in villages of the State on February 18 from Attari. He appealed to SAD workers as well as Punjabis at large to support this cause, saying the Sikh detainees were being incarcerated in prison even after completion of their life sentences.

The SAD President also interacted with potato growers of the region on this occasion. He said the growers disclosed that traders did not visit the State from outside due to the prevailing gangster and extortion culture. He said due to this potato prices had dipped to an all time low of Rs 250 per quintal which was lower than the cost of production. Asking chief minister Bhagwant Mann to act immediately and save the potato growers, he said Markfed and Punjab Agro should be pressed into service and told to buy the potato crop to ensure remunerative returns to farmers. He said this had been done earlier by Parkash Singh Badal and was the only way to save farmers from indebtedness.

During his visit to Shahkot Assembly constituency, Badal toured various villages including Billi Chow, Lohian Khas, Kohard Khurd, Shahkot and Mehatpur. Interacting with masses, he gave patient hearing to everyone assembled to meet him. He appealed everyone to recognise the political party which is pro-Punjab and pro-Panth.

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