Key Accused Among Six Fresh Arrests, Say Punjab Police

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The main accused Barjinder Singh Parwana was among the six more people arrested in connection with the clashes here that had left four people injured, the Punjab Police said on Sunday. Two groups had clashed on Friday over an anti-Khalistan march, hurling stones at each other and brandishing swords, forcing police to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

With the arrest of six more people, the number of accused who had been nabbed so far reached nine, said police. Addressing the media here, Inspector General of Police (Patiala range) Mukhwinder Singh Chhina said, The main accused Barjinder Singh Parwana has been arrested from Mohali.

Parwana, 38, was presented before a court here and was sent to 4-day police remand. A resident of Rajpura in the district, Parwana is one of the masterminds of Friday’s incident, according to the police. He had been accused of provoking the Sikh radicals to move towards the Kali Mata temple on Friday. Parwana alias Sunny is a man with criminal antecedents with four FIRs lodged against him in the past. Three of these cases were registered in Patiala and one in Mohali, according to police.

Parwana, a graduate, is known for making provocative speeches on social media. He went to Singapore in 2007-08 and returned after staying there for 18 months. He set up his own Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal’ at Rajpura. He had also participated in the farmers’ protest against the three central farm laws. IG Chhina said police also arrested Shankar Bhardwaj, an accomplice of Harish Singla, and Ashwani Kumar Gaggi Pandit, who made hate speeches.

Bhardwaj is district president of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray). Besides, police also arrested Shivdev, a resident of village Bal Sikandar in Fatehgarh Sahib district; Davinder Singh, a resident of Haryana’s Jind; and Rajinder Singh, a resident of Samana in Patiala.

The IG said so far nine people have been arrested in connection with the clashes. Chhina said police would take stern action if anyone is found trying to disturb peace and communal harmony.

He further said strict action would be taken against those who spread provocative content on social media. Police had already arrested Harish Singla, the working president of ‘Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray)’.

Six FIRs have been registered in the matter and a total of 25 people had been named in them. Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney appealed to people not to share any objectionable videos or messages on social media which could lead to unrest in society and create conflict between communities.

She said information about such posts should be reported through direct message on the Twitter handle @DCPatialaPb and WhatsApp number for taking suitable legal action in the matter. Sawhney further said peace committee meetings were being held in all the subdivisions of the district.

The clash had taken place outside the Kali Mata temple when members of the ‘Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray)’ began a ‘Khalistan Murdabad March’. Some Sikh activists, including Nihangs, took out another march against the Sena event. Four people were injured in the incident.

Applauding the Punjab government, AAP leader Malvinder Kang said the state police arrested the mastermind of the incident within 48 hours. AAP MLA from Kharar Anmol Gagan Mann in a tweet said, In less than 48 hours, AAP government successfully managed to put the conspirators of Patiala violence behind bars. The opposition tried hard to create an atmosphere of unrest but the government needs to be lauded for handling the matter with utmost sensitivity & responsibility.

The incident of clashes in Patiala is the first major law and order incident in the state under the Bhagwant Mann-led state government. Opposition parties had attacked the AAP-led regime, alleging that the law and order in the state had collapsed.

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Originally published at www.news18.com

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