Sikh leader Barjinder Singh Parwana was arrested on Sunday for the Patiala violence. On Friday (April 29), Khalistan supporters brandished swords and threw stones at the iconic Kali Mata Mandir in Patiala as they clashed with members of the Hindu organization Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray.
“The skirmishes reportedly broke out after Khalistan supporters raised slogans hailing Khalistan and attacking the participants of the ‘Khalistan Murdabad’ march. The armed Sikh mob which was a part of the pro-Khalistan rally organized in opposition to the ‘Khalistan Murdabad’ march attacked the Kali Mata Temple after Hindus had taken shelter inside the temple premises”, noted OpIndia.
Hindu leader Karamveer Singh and SHO Tripathi were injured in the violence. The police fired 15 rounds of aerial shots to bring the situation under control. Following the violence, the temple was shut to devotees and a large police force was stationed at its premises.
AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) which recently came to power in the state downplayed the violence. AAP’s Raghav Chadha chose to call the violence ‘skirmishes between political rivals’. “I want to clarify that this unfortunate violent clash in Patiala today was not between 2 groups but the workers of 2 political parties – on one side, there were people from Shiv Sena & Congress & on the other side, people from Shiromani Akali Dal”, Chadha said in his media interaction.
He also said, “The anti-social elements of both parties got involved in this clash, created violence & attempted to soil the atmosphere of Punjab. Any person attempting to disturb Punjab’s peace will not be spared. Police have restored law & order immediately.”
The hesitancy of AAP in calling out Khalistanis is understandable given the fact that they are said to have achieved their victory due to the support of the separatists. Banned terrorist organization Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) head Gurpatwant Singh Pannun had even written to Bhagwant Mann seeking a referendum. The separatists displayed their fearlessness of the law as they continued to perform the Bhangra even as the police were firing rounds to disperse the crowd.
Several videos of the violence have surfaced on social media. In one of the videos, the Nihang Sikhs are seen assaulting Hindu shopkeepers. They also vandalized and looted the shops inside the temple premises in the presence of the police. The Sikhs also brutally beat up the Hindu shop owners on the temple premises and one of them attacked a Hindu shopkeeper with swords.
According to Hindu Raksha Samiti President Rajesh Kehar, the attack was a pre-planned conspiracy against Hindus. He said that more than 90 percent of the attackers were outsiders. “The protest march was taken out by Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) from Arya Samaj, however, the attack took place on Kali Mata temple, which is far away from where the anti-Khalistani march took place”, he pointed out.
Kehar’s complaint said that the pro-Khalistani mob had assembled outside around noon on Friday, and a group of 40-50 attackers started raising slogans of Khalistan Zindabad outside the temple and pelted stones.
Not only did the Khalistanis attack innocent Hindus but they also abused Hindu Devi Maa Kali. An unidentified Nihang Sikh made objectionable remarks against Kali Mata following the Patiala violence.
An OpIndia report in this regard quotes the man’s interview with a Punjabi channel and says, “They should think (before speaking) about the Hindu religion…Who were those bad guys on Hemkunth Parbat? Who forced your Durga to dance naked? Who saved her? Ask them. When rakshas looted Indra Dev’s house and made Durga dance naked, who saved her? Ask the administration and Nanak Singh. Either find those, who fired shots from the temple, or take your guns and leave the path of Sikhs. We will see where their Kali Mata will go to hide,” the Nihang said threatening Hindus with violence.
Barjinder Singh Parwana was arrested by Inspector Sharminder Singh-led Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Patiala team from Chandigarh airport. Inspector General Mukhwinder Singh Chinna informed the media that Punjab police had constituted 20 teams for his arrest. Six persons have been arrested so far in the Patiala violence case.
It has also come to light that Parwana had been constantly instigating Sikhs. He regularly posted videos on his Facebook account asking Sikhs to gather with arms on April 29. “You all must stay prepared for April 29. I will confirm everything later. We may have to take a step before April 29. It is your religious duty. Do you understand by being fully prepared? If you have any baton or any other weapon, bring it”, Parwana says in one of the videos.
Many Sikhs had traveled to Patiala on his call on April 29 but Parwana was missing in action. He failed to turn up at the Gurudwara where he had asked Khalistanis to gather with weapons. He was also not present when the clash between Hindus and Sikhs took place. Reports state he arrived at the protest site after the clash. He stayed at the site for a while and left on a bike shortly thereafter. Interestingly, Parwana left the site with his face covered.
(Featured Image Source: OpIndia)