LUDHIANA: Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is facing criticism for his remarks after the Pulwama terror attack, on Saturday said that the terrorists will be emboldened if the decision on Kartarpur corridor is scuttled.
"Sikhs' Kartarpur corridor cannot stop. Do you want the decision taken by the two PMs to be scuttled? Then you will encourage them....Nobody can bend the country before terrorism and it is very clear, he told reporters.
Questioning why proper security arrangements "were not" made for movement of CRPF personnel in Pulwama, he said that a permanent solution was needed to end the repeated killings of jawans.
Activists of the BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Saturday showed black flags to Sidhu on his arrival here, protesting against his remarks. He had on Friday asked if an entire nation can be blamed for a handful of people after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit took responsibility for the suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy on Thursday that left 40 personnel dead.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to expel Sidhu for his remarks.
Reiterating that those who were involved in the dastardly act should be punished, the cricketer-turned-politician said Saturday that he stood by what he said earlier.
Can there be a question mark on decisions taken by two Prime Ministers, Sidhu said, adding that the progress of a nation cannot stop because of a few terrorists.
When a politician visits, the whole city shuts down. But when 3,000 jawans are moving why proper security arrangements were not taken care of? Why there is no tracker or security?
"It has a demoralising effect these are the issues for introspection, Sidhu said while addressing media here.
There should be a permanent solution. Why do our jawans lose their lives time and again. There should be a preventive measure for this so that it should not happen again, said Sidhu.
For 71 years, why are (such incidents) they repeated? How should it be stopped? This can be stopped with the international pressure, he said.
Can a question mark be put on the Kartarpur corridor issue because of a few terrorists, he wondered, adding, there is good, bad and ugly and ugly have to be punished. Some people cannot hold good work to ransom. They have to be quelled.
Asked whether he regrets his visit to Pakistan, Sidhu replied that he had repeatedly said that he was invited at the swearing in ceremony of Imran Khan. I was invited and I went there as a friend, said Sidhu, adding he had no regrets about visiting Pakistan.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sidhu said he had gone to Pakistan "without invitation and he hugged (the then Pakistan Premier) the same way (what Sidhu did during his visit)".
"When he (PM Modi) returned from Pakistan, Pathankot terror attack took place. When former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went there, Kargil took place. When I returned from there, they supported Kartarpur corridor. At that time, people laughed at me and the same people went there, he said.
Sidhu said he still stands by what he said but alleged that his statement was distorted.
Asked whether country or friendship comes first for him, Sidhu said, For me, the country always comes before everything.
My statement has been distorted. Only one line was shown. It (statement) was not shown completely because a lot of people are afraid and you also understand they are feeling insecure.
"I had said what I said yesterday and I stand by it. There is no religion, country, caste of terrorism.Like iron cuts iron, the antidote of snake bite is its venom, the same way it (terrorism) should be crushed, the Local Bodies Minister said.
Sidhu was among the invitees for the swearing in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan prime minister last year. He also attended the November event where Khan laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor at Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
Meanwhile, activists of the BJYM Saturday showed black flags to Sidhu, who was to attend a meeting of local officials of his department in a hotel.
Protestors raised slogans against him for his statement after Pulwama attack. Police, which had made elaborate security arrangements, rounded up all the demonstrators, after which Sidhu reached the venue.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.
The decision to build the corridor, from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border, was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
The corridor was a long-pending demand of the Sikh community. Pakistan has committed to open the corridor in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.