Khalistan flags hung at HP assembly gate, SIT formed

Khalistan flags hung at HP assembly gate, SIT formed

Khalistan flags were found tied to the main gate and separatist slogans scrawled on the boundary walls of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly complex near Dharamshala on Sunday morning.

Banned pro-Khalistan outfit, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), has claimed responsibility for the act. Founder of the organisation, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, in his email to journalists and government functionaries, said the flags had been put up to commemorate the 36th year of Khalistan Declaration Day. He said that the outfit will announce the date for the Khalistan referendum at Paonta Sahib on June 6 on the 38th anniversary of Operation Blue Star.

Police have taken down the flags and erased the slogans from the Tapovan Vidhan Sabha Complex, which is the venue of the winter session of the HP assembly.

Kangra superintendent of police Khushal Chand Sharma said, “Khalistan supporters may have come to the state as tourists and hung the flags late at night or early in the morning. Locals spotted the flags and graffiti in the morning and alerted the police.”

A case under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and sections of HP Open Spaces (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1985. Police are scanning CCTV footage to identify the accused.

Will review security with neighbouring states: CM

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur condemned the incident as an “act of cowardice” and said Himachal will review its security with neighbouring states.”

Ordering a probe in the matter, the CM said, “Those who committed this disgusting act did it in the cover of darkness. If they had the guts, they would have done it during the day. They took advantage of low security at the Dharamshala complex as only the winter session takes place there.”

SIT constituted

Himachal Pradesh director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kundu has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case. Deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Santosh Patial will lead the seven-member team. “The SIT will take the help of state and central intelligence agencies to unearth inter-state and international linkages in the case and carry out the probe expeditiously,” said Kundu.

Cong, AAP train guns at state govt

Meanwhile, the Opposition hit out at the government over the “inefficiency of the state security agencies under the BJP regime.”

Congress campaign committee chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said, “This is the failure of the government. This incident has proved that the Jai Ram Thakur-led government is incompetent.”

Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) state spokesperson and retired DGP ID Bhandari also demanded dismissal of the government. “This was a shameful act, in which miscreants put up Khalistan flags in a high-security area. A government under whose rule such an incident has taken place has no right to be in power. Either the state government is weak or is in hand-in-glove with pro-Khalistan elements.”

Taking to twitter, Delhi deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the putting up of the Khalistan flags outside the gate of Himachal assembly building in Dharamshala was a “complete” failure of the BJP government in dealing with the matter pertaining to national security and keeping the respect of the people of the hill state.

Speaker blames AAP govt in Punjab

Meanwhile, Himachal Vidhan Sabha speaker Vipin Singh Parmar condemned the incident and said the culprits will be nabbed and strict action will be taken against them. “Some political parties are trying to vitiate the peaceful environment of Himachal Pradesh, which is land of Gods and Goddesses. The ruling party in Punjab is behind the re-emergence of terrorist groups and the Patiala clashes are an example of it.”



    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

Vijay Singh

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