In Punjab’s Patiala, ‘key conspirator’ arrested 2 days after clashes
Patiala clashes: Several people were injured when violence broke out during a rally.
Two days after Punjab's Patiala district saw clashes and then curbs, Barjinder Singh Parwana, the head of Sikh group Damdami Taksal Rajpura, was arrested on Sunday. He is said to be the “key conspirator” in the case. Parwana has been accused of inciting militancy on social media in the past.
A disciple of Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal, Pawana has also been known for his comments on the tough anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 1984 riots in the past. “Parwana is a self-styled Sikh leader, who makes expletive speeches on social media to garner support,” inspector general of police, Mukhwinder Singh Chinna, said on Saturday.
On Sunday, he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI: “Parwana, the main accused in the Patiala clashes has been taken into custody by police from Mohali. Six accused have been arrested till now. The chief minister has ordered strict action to be taken against anti-social and anti-national elements.”
Till Saturday, police said that three people had been arrested over the violence, including Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) leader Harish Singla, held a day before. He had led the “anti-Khalistan” protest, believed to be at the heart of the violence.
Singla was the head of the Punjab unit of the outfit, which is not linked to Shiv Sena. He, however, says he was influenced by Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
Clashes broke out when the rally was headed to the Kali Devi temple in Patiala on Friday. This is the first time the state saw violence of this scale after Bhagwant Mann took over as the chief minister in May. The ruling AAP has come under criticism from the opposition over the incident.
Mann on Saturday said that the situation in the district was peaceful. Soon after clashes broke out on Friday, a curfew was announced till Saturday morning.
Later, mobile internet was suspended for several hours on Saturday amid a tight security deployment.
In another step to signify that accountability was being pinned, three cops were also transferred after Mann’s orders.
(With inputs from ANI)