The complicated Punjab problem, which defied solution for five years and caused the India a great deal of anxiety leading to the large scale loss of lives and destruction of property worth billions of rupees throughout India was at last solved when, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali Dal President, late Sant Harchand Singh Longo wal signed a momentous and historic memorandum of settlement in the Parliament House office of the Prime Minister at New Delhi on July 24, 1985. Both the Prime Minister and the Akali Dal President expressed complete satisfaction over the signing of an agreement and there were no reservations whatsoever from either side. Hence, it is not only the hope of the two leaders who signed the agreements, but also the hope and prayer of the entire nation as well as the world. that the issue has at last been solved.
The agreement under forces the sanctity of the Indian Constitution. The text of the agreement reflects the statesmanship of our youthful Prime Minister and his faith in democracy, parliamentary system and the harmonious relations between the Centre and the States. The greatest gain of the agreement is the immediate end of the confrontation between the wounded Sikh community, by the Operation Bluestar and the harassed Government both at the Centre and the State. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi has assured to the nation and the world that the Indian Government will not have any discriminatory attitude or hostilities towards the Sikh community.
Full credit must also be given to the late Sant Longowal, who even sacrificed his life for the sake of the agreement within one month of its signing at the hands of the extremists. He and his close associates displayed tremendous courage and patriotism in the face of many odds in arriving at the settlement, which is just and honorable. Sant Longowal had also publically declared that the period of confrontation is over and we are fully satisfied with the (package) deal. The Sant had to face tremendous opposition even from his close associates, but he got the agreement ratified by the Jathedars of his party and announced the withdrawal of the agitation started in 1982 in support of Anandpur Sahib Resolution.
The memorandum of agreement signed between the two leaders contains an ll.point package. Under the agreement, Chandigarh will go to Punjab. Haryana will be compensated by the transfer of the Hindi speaking areas now in Punjab. Similarly, Punjabi speaking areas in Haryana will be transferred to Punjab. A Commission has already been set up to demarcate these areas by December 31, 1985, and the transfer of Chandigarh, as well as these areas, will be effected on January 26, 1986. Thus, a firm date has been fixed and modus operandi of deciding the issues established without any ambiguity or doubt.
The claim of the two States regarding the share of river water will be referred to a tribunal, presided over by a Supreme Court Judge, for regular adjudication. The memorandum of settlement has also found a solution to the controversial issue of Centre-State relations contained in Anandpur Sahib resolution. The Anandpur Sahib resolution demanded that the powers of the Centre should be limited to defense, foreign affairs, currency, and general communications. It also demanded equal representation at the Centre for all States irrespective of their size and population. In other words, this part of the Anandpur Sahib resolution wanted our Constitution to be changed on the lines of the Constitution of U.S.A. The memorandum of agreement, while stipulating that the relationship between Centre and the States should be looked into, specifies that the issue will be referred to the existing Sarkaria Commission, which is currently examining the center-state relations.
The historic agreement reached between the Government of India and Akali Dal, lays the foundation for the unity of the nation and for all the minorities to live in peace, harmony, and self-respect, It is for the people of India, particularly the majority community to rally round the agreement and ensure the success of the settlement. It is hoped that by the agreement, the period of confrontation will end once for all and the age of amity, goodwill and cooperation, which will strengthen the unity and integrity of India, will begin.