Punjab Police have registered four first information reports (FIRs) against right-wing Hindu bodies and radical Sikh outfits for spreading communal hatred by announcing counter rallies against each other last week.
The Hindu Suraksha Samiti and All India Hindu Students Federation had announced a ‘Lalkar’ rally — aimed at challenging the pro- Khalistan supporters — from Chandigarh to Amritsar on May 25.
To counter the move, scores of radical Sikh activists held an ‘Anakh’ (self respect) rally and gathered on the Beas bridge, 40 km from Amritsar, on May 25. The plan was to stop the rightwing activists from entering Amritsar.
A clash, however, was averted as the Hindu outfits cancelled the rally at the eleventh hour.
Tension had been brewing between the two sides on the social media with provocative videos made by both groups doing the rounds.
Taking a serious note of the situation, cops registered the first case at the state crime police station on Sunday and three more on Monday against unidentified supporters of the two groups featuring in these videos.
IPS Sahota, director bureau of investigation, Punjab, said those making hate speeches will also be named in the FIRs soon. He said the cases have been registered under sections 153 (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) along with 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
A video released on the Facebook page of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti on May 18 shows their members openly challenging Khalistani supporters. A Patiala leader of the outfit, Nishant Sharma, is seen saying that Khalistan won’t be allowed to come up in Punjab at any cost. In response, unidentified Sikhs groups put up videos referring to supporters of the Hindu outfits as “Bandar sena’ and said they will thrown into the Beas canal if they dare cross it.
Later, videos announcing support for ‘Lalkar’ rally surfaced with right-wing activists flaunting tridents, guns and pistols, saying they were ready for any “battle”. Hindu Suraksha Samiti Punjab president Deepak Bhardwaj also put up a video challenging the radical Sikh outfits. On May 24, the ‘Lalkar rally’ was called off with police rounding up some leaders of the outfits supporting it. Bhardwaj said the rally had been cancelled to maintain peace in the state.