Amarinder Singh’s Tweet on Ex-PM Chandra Shekhar Draws Son’s Ire

Singh tweeted hinting that the ex-PM may have been responsible for the death of 21 surrendered Khalistani militants

3 min read
Amarinder Singh’s Tweet on Ex-PM Chandra Shekhar Draws Son’s Ire

On Wednesday evening, a cryptic tweet by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh caused widespread speculation about the historical significance of the claim and its veracity. This is what the CM tweeted:

The Quint reached out to former Indian Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar’s son Neeraj Shekhar, now a leader of the Samajwadi Party, for his take on the tweet. Shekhar reacted strongly, defending his father.

Neeraj Shekhar stated that the Punjab Chief Minister’s statement was inaccurate as his father had not ordered the killing of the 21 Khalistani militants mentioned in the tweet. He also said that Chandra Shekhar did not know the current Punjab CM.

My father was the only one to criticise Indira Gandhi’s Operation Blue Star, that’s why he lost the popular vote. My father did the best he could for Punjab. How dare Amarinder Singh make these statements about a person who is no more? I don’t think he even knew my father. Since 1989, I have been travelling with my father and helping him with his work and not once have I seen him (Amarinder Singh) at our home or in my father’s company.
Neeraj Shekhar to The Quint

It seems that the tweet was put out by Amarinder Singh to promote the Delhi launch of a book he has authored, The 36th Sikhs in the Tirah Campaign 1897-98 – Saragarhi and the Defence of the Samana Forts, and his authorised biography by Chandigarh-based writer Khushwant Singh. But the statement itself remains largely shrouded in mystery.

The Quint spoke to Khushwant Singh on Thursday to hear his views on the matter.

Amarinder Singh’s tweet is a part of the authorised biography. In Wednesday’s event in Delhi, Suhel Seth asked Amarinder Singh if he felt betrayed by the Indian government when the 21 Khalistani militants who had surrendered, were eventually killed. 
Chandra Shekhar had offered an olive branch to these militants – whoever wanted to come over to this side. Anokh Singh Ubokhe was the militant leading this group. Ubokhe at some point was also Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s driver. Captain Singh took Ubokhe and two others to Chandra Shekhar’s residence to hand them over. But the militants were killed some time after they had surrendered.
Khushwant Singh, writer, Captain Amarinder Singh: The People’s Maharaja to The Quint

The writer claimed that he had not investigated the alleged killing of these soldiers as it was not a part of his brief for the biography. He added that Captain Singh also did not know the exact details of this incident but said he felt “betrayed” by the Indian government. The Punjab CM is yet to clarify on the matter.

According to Neeraj Shekhar, his father did not particularly mingle with or care about those of royal lineage, a subtle reference to Captain Amarinder Singh’s royal family background.

He (Amarinder Singh) might be a member of the royalty but my father never cared about rajas or their children. Just because he cannot control the situation in Punjab, he is now trying to blame others.
Neeraj Shekhar to The Quint

Captain Amarinder Singh has recently been in the news for not only the launch of his authorised biography, but also due to his cold response to Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan’s announcement of his first official trip to India. Earlier this month, the Punjab CM faced threats from pro-Khalistan elements, who were at the ‘Vaisakhi Parade’ in Surrey, Canada, on 22 April.

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