Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that some people were trying to divide the state on sectarian lines but his government was duty-bound to make Punjab a progressive, peaceful and prosperous state by foiling the nefarious designs of the anti-Punjab forces.
"We have to make Punjab, Punjab again, not Afghanistan," he said.
He said his government will maintain peace, amity and communal harmony in Punjab at all costs, adding that the youth will not be allowed to "become raw material for those running factories in the name of religion".
His remarks have come amid a police crackdown on pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh and his outfit 'Waris Punjab De'. The radical preacher is on the run and efforts are on to nab him.
A number of his associates have been arrested or detained and the stringent National Security Act has been slapped against some of them, including Amritpal Singh.
The police crackdown was initiated after Amritpal Singh and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar wielding swords and weapons to secure the release of one of his associates.
Without taking any names, Mann said in an emotional appeal to people that it's easy to ask children of strangers to take up arms or give up their life, but when those people find themselves on the receiving end they face harsh realities.
The chief minister said he has got phone calls from a cross-section of people, including mothers, who told him that they want to see their children receive a good education and go on to occupy top posts.
Mann thanked people for reposing faith in him and said he will uphold the faith.
According to an official statement, Mann also said that Punjabis should not get swayed by the ideas of such self-proclaimed preachers who have no emotional bonding with the state and its people.
Mann said the sole motive of such people was to disturb the hard-earned peace of the state.
He said that these people are highly mistaken to think that they can divide people on communal lines.
He said this is the era of education and people with knowledge and expertise are recognised due to which the state government is making strenuous efforts to promote education in Punjab.
He said he wants to see books, laptops, and medals in the hands of youth.
-With PTI Input