Miscreants put up flag with Khalistan written on it on terrace of Moga district administrative complex
While escaping, two youngsters took away the Tricolour; DC says the duo chose a time when employees were arriving for duty so no one suspected themUpdated: Aug 14, 2020 16:39 IST
Moga: Despite the security alert on the eve of Independence Day, two miscreants managed to reach the terrace of the four-storeyed district administrative complex in Moga on Friday morning and put up a saffron flag with Khalistan written on it, while their accomplice filmed the incident from a distance.
While fleeing, the two men took away the Tricolour on the ground floor and allegedly tore it. On getting information about the incident, police personnel put up a new Tricolour and removed the saffron flag from the roof of the building.
Moga senior superintendent of police Harmanbir Singh Gill said that two youngsters brought along the saffron flag at 8.15am. “It was a normal flag with the Khanda symbol but they had written Khalistan on it with paint.”
Inspector general of police Kaustubh Sharma said, “We have CCTV footage of the accused and will arrest them soon.”
SIKHS FOR JUSTICE RELEASES VIDEO OF INCIDENT
The incident took place days after the banned US-based pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) announced a reward of $1,25,000 (Rs 93 lakh) for anyone who puts up the ‘Khalistan flag’ at Red Fort on Independence Day.
SFJ leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu released a video of the Moga incident that shows the two men tearing the Tricolour and escaping with it. At the end of the video, Pannu announced a reward of $2,500 (Rs 1.8 lakh) for anyone raising the ‘Khalistan flag’ at panchayat ghars on Independence Day
“It seems all this was done for money. While fleeing, they took away the National Flag with them. We are trying to recover it,” SSP Gill said.
Deputy commissioner Sandeep Hans said, “This is an act of cowardice. They chose a time when the employees were arriving for duty so no one suspected them. We will take steps to ensure such lapses don’t occur again.”
An eyewitness was taken into custody as police suspect his involvement in the incident.
A case was registered under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act at the city police station in Moga.
BITTU BLAMES SFJ, JATHEDAR
Calling for the arrest of the two miscreants, Ludhiana Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu tweeted, “The poison being spread by Pannu and Jathedar Sahib has shown its effect in Moga. Now is the time to differentiate between those who love this country and those who want to destroy it.”
Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated by Sikh extremists at the Punjab secretariat on August 31, 1995. Bittu has been at loggerheads with Akal Takht acting jathedar Harpreet Singh for allegedly supporting SFJ ‘s demand for a separate Sikh state of Khalistan.
AAP STEERS CLEAR, MANN CALLS IT ‘NON-ISSUE’
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann termed the Moga incident a non-issue. “The AAP struggles for issues such as unemployment, inflation and poverty as they affect the common man. Owing to the deteriorating situation in Punjab, scores of youngsters are migrating to foreign lands. Such incidents are actually not issues,” he told reporters in Bathinda.
In the run-up to the 2017 Punjab elections, AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was seen cosying up to Sikh radicals. In January 2017, Kejriwal had even stayed at the house of former militant Gurinder Singh’s house in Moga.