PATIALA, Punjab, India: “A meeting for the United Akali Dal (Amarinder Singh faction) held here, decided on Saturday to pave the way for a merger with a moderate Akali Dal faction headed by former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala.

The group, which met under the leadership of Amrinder Singh, pledged to achieve greater political and economic autonomy for the majority Sikhs in Punjab, but within the framework of the Indian Constitution, political sources said.

The pledge was significant shift from the position of hardliners like United Akali Dal leader Joginder Singh, who is sympathetic to freedom fighters waging an independence war in Punjab for an independent nation called Khalistan (Land of the Pure), the sources said.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988