Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday accused the Congress of supporting radical organisations in the state that favoured the creation of a Sikh homeland, Khalistan. The Akali leader alleged that the Congress has formed a grand alliance with terrorist organisations, which were behind the 18,000-strong Sarbat Khalsa gathering in Amritsar earlier this month. He called the Congress anti-national and said the pro-Khalistan gathering had been planned by the party, alleging that there was proof on social media of its leaders directing separatists on how to organise it, reported The Times of India.

Badal said that state Congress leaders Ramanjit Singh Sikki and Inderjit Singh Zira attended the gathering, which passed a resolution naming terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted of killing former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, as the chief priest of the Akal Takht – the highest temporal seat of Sikhs. His remarks come after widespread protests in the state over incidents of desecration of the Sikh holy book and the Sarbat Khalsa gathering. An Akali delegation later met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek disqualification of the Congress in the state.

Congress leader and former chief minister Amrinder Singh dismissed Badal’s statements, saying the accusations were baseless.