Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today condemned chief minister Bhagwant Mann for placing Punjab virtually under central rule by putting his stamp of approval on home minister Amit Shah’s decision to open offices of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in all States of the country.

Addressing a press conference here, senior SAD leaders Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was shocking that Bhagwant Mann, who was the only chief minister of the opposition attending the Chintan Shivir in Faridabad, agreed to the proposal which would allow the NIA to have overriding powers over the State police in Punjab.

Asserting that Bhagwant Mann was colluding with the BJP to destroy the federal structure of the country, the senior leaders said Punjabis had not given the chief minister the mandate to sell off the rights of the State which were guaranteed by the constitution. They went on to further add “the chief minister seems to have arrived at an understanding with the BJP and that is why he agreed to a decision which will allow the central government to use NIA against its political opponents in the same manner in which it has misused the ED”. They also highlighted how the chief minister had earlier refused to protest against extension of the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab as well as curtailing Punjab’s rights in the management of the BBMB.

Stating that the SAD would not allow Bhagwant Mann to barter away the rights of Punjab, Prof Chandumajra demanded the chief minister take back his approval to allow opening of offices of the NIA in Punjab. He said simultaneously the centre should also increase the rights of States instead of decreasing them. “States should be financed to enable them to upgrade the law enforcement agencies instead of introducing multiple agencies into the States”, Dr Cheema asserted adding “central agencies should share intelligence inputs with the State agencies for seamless working instead of opening their own offices in the States”.

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