Little more than a month since Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power in Punjab, the state has already descended into turmoil and chaos. On Friday, a raucous mob of Khalistanis gathered in the Patiala district of the state and clashed with members of Hindu organisations outside the holy Maa Kali Temple. Moreover, the Khalistanis performed Bhangra while the hapless Punjab police air fired blank bullets.
Reportedly, the incident took place during the ‘Khalistan Murdabad’ march carried out by Shiv Sena Bal Thackeray when Khalistan supporters attacked the march by brandishing swords. It is pertinent to note that Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) is the Punjab unit of Shiv Sena.
The officials said this incident also led to stone-pelting and added that at least four people, including two policemen, were injured in the clash. In one of the videos that have emerged on social media, the Khalistanis could be seen attacking the Maa Kai Temple while in another, a bevvy of protesters could be seen blocking a roundabout in Patiala and shouting “Khalistan Zindabad” slogans.
Armed Sikh mob attack Ma Kali temple with swords and stones in Patiala
Hindus have taken shelter inside. The Sikh mob was part of a armed Khalistan rally crowding outside Hindu temple pic.twitter.com/neg41cZshm
— Girish (@vikramaditya205) April 29, 2022
— karamprakash (@karamprakash6) April 29, 2022
SMS and internet services banned
To bring the situation under control, Principal Secretary, Home, Anurag Verma imposed a ban on mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA) (ii) all SMS services and (iii) all dongle services , and other services, provided on mobile networks except voice calls in the territorial jurisdiction of the District of Patiala from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday.
The government said the decision has been taken in public interest “with the aim to stop the spread of misinformation and rumours through various social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter on mobile phones and SMS, for facilitating and/or mobilisation of mobs of violent/volatile nature which can cause serious loss of life and/or damage to public/private property by indulging in arson/vandalism and other types of violent activities”.
Top officials transferred
Moreover, the Punjab government also removed Patiala Inspector General of Police Rakesh Agarwal from his post. The Punjab government also ordered the transfer of Patiala SSP and SP. Meanwhile, in response to the attacks on the Hindu temple, the Hindu groups have called for a bandh.
ਅੱਜ 30 ਅਪ੍ਰੈਲ ਨੂੰ ਸਵੇਰੇ 9:30 ਤੋਂ ਸ਼ਾਮ 6 ਵਜੇ ਤੱਕ ਮੋਬਾਈਲ ਇੰਟਰਨੈਟ ਸੇਵਾਵਾਂ ਸੀਮਤ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ, ਘਬਰਾਉਣ ਦੀ ਲੋੜ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੇਵਲ ਅਫਵਾਹਾਂ ਫੈਲਣ ਤੋਂ ਰੋਕਣ ਲਈ ਇਹਤਿਆਤ ਵਜੋਂ ਗ੍ਰਹਿ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਨੇ ਕੀਤਾ ਫੈਸਲਾ pic.twitter.com/F7VIPrbcMs
— DC Patiala (@DCPatialaPb) April 30, 2022
Meanwhile, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann termed the clashes “unfortunate” and claimed that the “situation is under control”. He tweeted, “The incidents of clashes in Patiala are deeply unfortunate. I spoke with DGP, peace has been restored in the area. We’re closely monitoring the situation & won’t let anyone create disturbance in the State. Punjab’s peace and harmony is of utmost importance,”
The incident of clashes in Patiala are deeply unfortunate. I spoke with the DGP, peace has been restored in the area. We are closely monitoring the situation and will not let anyone create disturbance in the State. Punjab’s peace and harmony is of utmost importance.
— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) April 29, 2022
AAP and its history of mollycoddling Khalistan sympathisers
The Khalistanis have had their confidence bolstered ever since AAP came to power in Punjab. As reported by TFI, Bhagwant Mann and Raghav Chaddha recently met UK MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi – a staunch Khalistani supporter behind closed doors and immediately afterwards, the clashes erupted between the two religious communities.
AAP has been time and again accused of having sympathies for Khalistan and its supporters. In the 2017 Punjab assembly election, AAP leaders were employing or taking help from Khalistan supporters. The AAP MLA from Garhshankar Jai Krishna Rouri had employed Gurdial Singh, chief of banned International Youth Federation.
The AAP supported the farm protest which during its entirety became a den for anti-social and Pro-Khalistani activities. Founding member of AAP, Kumar Vishwas alleged that Arvind Kejriwal harboured dreams of becoming Prime Minister of Khalistan one day.
The violence in Patiala is just the teaser trailer of what the ordinary folks of Punjab have in store for the next five years. If AAP continues to support Khalistanis through backdoors, they will only increase their intensity of violence, riot and arson in the coming days.