AAP-led Punjab govt caught napping, Hindu-Sikh clash leaves over a dozen injured in Patiala; curfew imposed
Eyewitnesses revealed that members of both groups pelted stones at each other. Armed with sharp-edged weapons, certain people also indulged in arguments with the police and even attacked some of them
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Punjab government was caught napping on Friday afternoon when a major clash broke out between groups of different religions in Patiala city.
Over a dozen people suffered injuries in this communal clash raising doubts on the functioning and alertness of Punjab Police under the Bhagwant Mann government.
The tension had been simmering since after Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of Sikhs for Justice, a radical outfit, had given a call to commemorate Khalistan Foundation Day on April 29 and to hoist Khalistan flags at important places in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
To counter this, members of some Hindu organisations had planned to take out a procession in Patiala city.
Information revealed that before the Hindu organisations started their procession, a large number of supporters of the SFJ had assembled at Dukh Niwaran Sahib gurdwara in a large number.
Raising “Khalistan Zindabad” slogans and brandishing naked swords, the mob that outnumbered the police force deployed to control the situation, marched towards Kali Mata temple in the city from where the Hindu organisations were to start the procession.
They were, however, stopped by the police at Fawara Chowk, located in the heart of Patiala.
Eyewitnesses revealed that members of both the groups pelted stones at each other. Armed with sharp-edged weapons, certain people also indulged in arguments with the police and even attacked some of them.
The members of both the groups had not sought permission to hold the procession and were stopped by the police. To bring the situation under control, the police also fired many rounds in the air.
Speaking about the incident, Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann claimed that the situation is being closely monitored. “I have spoken to the DGP on the issue, the situation is under control and peace has been restored in the area”. Mann also termed the incident unfortunate and vowed his government would not let anyone create disturbance in the state.
Shiv Sena leader Harish Singla was arrested in connection with the clashes later in the evening, even as curfew was imposed in Patiala from 7pm today till 6 am tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Congress, BJP and Akali Dal have condemned the incident and held the AAP government responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Leader of the Opposition Pratap Singh Bajwa took to Twitter to call out “complete anarchy in the state".
“Disturbing visuals from Patiala. It’s high time that the Punjab CM gets his house in order. Law & order has collapsed in the past one month with one incident after the other taking place in the state. The CM should immediately visit Patiala with DGP Punjab," he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, in a video clip released on the social media, claims to have hoisted the Khalistan flag adjacent to the SSP office in Malerkotla.
Published: 29 Apr 2022, 7:20 PM