The Central Intelligence Agency on Sunday arrested Barjinder Singh Parwana, the alleged mastermind behind the clashes that broke out in Patiala two days ago during a march against “pro-Khalistani elements”, India Today reported.
Parwana arrived at 7.20 am in Mohali on a Vistara flight from Mumbai, following which he was arrested at the airport by a team headed by Inspector Sharminder Singh, India Today reported. He will be produced before a court to seek his police remand for further questioning, said Chhina.
On Friday, clashes had erupted between members of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) group, who had called for an “anti-Khalistan” protest march, Nihangs and Sikh activists. The Nihangs, an order of Sikh warriors, had marched towards the city’s Kali Mata temple while shouting “pro-Khalistan” slogans to counter the Shiv Sena’s protest rally.
At least two residents were reportedly injured in the clashes as members of the two sides hurled stones at one another. The police had fired blank shots in the air in an attempt to bring the situation under control.
Inspector General of Patiala Police MS Chhina told ANI that six accused have been taken into custody so far. Parwana has a criminal background and is named in four cases, Chhina added.
“Chief Minister [Bhagwant Mann] has ordered strict action to be taken against anti-social and anti-national elements,” he told ANI.
Nobody will be spared, says Arvind Kejriwal
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that the Punjab government has taken strong action in connection with the clashes and “nobody would be spared”, PTI reported.
“Anyone from this party or that party who will try to disturb the peace of Punjab will be dealt with strictly,” Kejriwal said, according to PTI.
The Punjab Police had on Saturday arrested three persons and identified 24 persons as accused in the violence. Among those arrested is Harish Singla. He belonged to the Shiv Sena but was expelled for “anti-party activities”. He was sent to police custody for two days.
The police will identify more miscreants involved in the violence on the basis of video evidence and statements, Senior Superintendent of Patiala Police Deepak Parik had said.
The government on Saturday restored mobile internet services and lifted the curfew as tensions eased in Patiala.
Opposition targets AAP
However, former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal said that Friday’s clashes are a matter of grave concern.
“These were the direct outcome of the utter administrative incompetence and reckless political opportunism, which have become the hallmarks of the present rulers in the state,” he said on Twitter.
He appealed to the residents of the state to “resist divisive ideologies and political opportunists”.
Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Congress’s Partap Singh Bajwa questioned why the chief minister left to attend a conference in Vigyan Bhawan, The Hindu reported.
“Instead of attending the conference, he should have visited Patiala along with his director-general of police to take first-hand stock of the situation,” he said.