The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gurdwara row

New Delhi, April 23: The BJP has taken exception to Sonia Gandhi asking Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh to help reconstruct gurdwaras that were damaged in Baghdad and other places during the Iraq war as well as those destroyed earlier in Afghanistan.

BJP spokesman V.K. Malhotra suggested that the Congress president should have taken up the matter with the external affairs ministry rather than approach Amarinder.

“Her approach is highly objectionable. It is not proper to give it a communal colour. If Sonia was so concerned about the gurdwaras, she should have taken up the issue with our government and the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

Malhotra harked back to the 1984 Operation Bluestar and said: “If by doing this she wishes to atone for Bluestar, my advice to her would be to go to the Akal Takht (in the Golden temple) and repent there.”

Even as BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu welcomed the Prime Minister’s offer to talk to Pakistan last Sunday, Malhotra sounded sceptical today and referred to the recent killing of 18 terrorists in Kashmir, of whom 14 were from Pakistan.

“These terrorists threw bombs and killed innocents. There is no credible answer from Pakistan on why cross-border terrorism continues. The Prime Minister has extended a hand of friendship but he also made it clear that talks are possible only if such incidents do not occur,” he said.

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