A case of sedition was filed against Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday for hugging the Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to Pakistan, reported IANS.
Sidhu, a former cricketer, was in Islamabad on Saturday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as the country’s prime minister. Several political parties, including his own, have criticised Sidhu’s actions.
Lawyer Sudhur Ojha filed the case in Muzaffarpur’s Chief Judicial Magistrate court under various sections of the Indian Penal Code involving sedition, according to the report. In his complaint, he claimed that Sidhu’s gesture hurt the people of the country.
“The court has admitted the case and will hear it next week,” Ojha told IANS.
On Sunday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticised Sidhu. “Every day, our jawans are getting martyred,” Amarinder Singh said, according to NDTV. “To hug their Chief General Bajwa... I am against this. The fact is that the man should understand that our soldiers are being killed. My own regiment lost one major and two jawans a few months ago and everyday somebody is being shot.”
The chief minister added that Sidhu attended the oath-taking ceremony in his personal capacity and it had nothing to do with his government or the Congress party.
The visit itself was questioned by several Indian politicians. Sidhu, a minister in the Congress-led Punjab government, was among several special guests invited for the ceremony. Sidhu was seated next to Masood Khan, the president of the part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that Islamabad calls “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”.
On Saturday, Sidhu claimed he hugged Bajwa because the general told him that Pakistan may allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur next year, the Hindustan Times reported. “Without my asking, I received this precious gift,” he said. “General Bajwa hugged me and said they were thinking of opening the Kartarpur route during Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations. I had been thinking our chief minister [Amarinder Singh] would take this up with Pakistan, but the general made this gracious gesture on his own. He also said we want peace.”