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Being targeted as I'm Dalit: Minister on harassment charges

Chandigarh: As Opposition parties demanded the sacking Charanjit Singh Channi for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a woman officer, the Punjab minister said on Tuesday he was being targeted as he raised issues concerning the Dalits in the state. Channi, who had been accused by the woman official some weeks back, was speaking to the media for the first time after he returned from abroad.

In pic: Charanjit Singh Channi

Trying to play down the matter, the minister said he had sent the message to the woman by "mistake".

"I am always respectful to woman... There are two private secretaries in my office, three block presidents in my constituencies who are women and I have always called them with respect," he said, adding that the woman had accepted his apology.

The matter was over after that, he said, blaming the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of raking up the issue. "I am being targeted as I am a Dalit and have been raising issues concerning the Dalits in the state."

Channi said he had already given his clarification to the satisfaction of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

"The CM is supreme... We work under the directions of the chief minister... if he takes any decision against me it is accepted to me," he said.

Meanwhile, the SAD reiterated its demand of sacking the minister. Party general secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema said the act of the minister had put a question mark on his morality.

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