The Patiala clash of Friday, between two groups one opposing and one in support of Khalistan, has taken a grave turn with videos emerging of a Kali Temple being stoned, Hindu shopkeepers being attacked, their shops being vandalized by what is said to be a pro-Khalistan mob.
As per Rajesh Kehar, president of the Hindu Raksha Samiti, in a media report, the clash between the two groups took place quite far from the Kali Mata Temple which was subjected to a horrific attack.
It is claimed that the attack on the temple was a well-planned conspiracy as most of the attackers didn’t appear to be local.
Rajesh Kehar, the President of Hindu Raksha Samiti, told OpIndia, “This bandh is not against Harish Singla, but because of the attack on the temple by Khalistan supporters. All Hindu organisations of Patiala have taken this decision together.”
In the police complaint, Rajesh Kehar has elaborated on the moment when the attack on the Kali Mata Temple took place.
“I alerted the temple authorities and security and got the gates closed immediately. Within minutes the attackers attacked the temple building, causing damage. They also attacked the temple shops located outside the temple gate. They damaged shop numbered 9 to 12 and stole about 25,000-30,000 rupees from the shops.”
I was in my office; I heard the slogans of Khalistan Zindabad. I ran outside, where I saw some Nihang Sikhs pelting stones and attacking the temple building and the Langar Bhawan. They had sticks and other weapons. They were raising anti-Hindu slogans,” Rajesh Kehar said to OpIndia.
A video of the same has also surfaced on social media, which shows that the Khalistani mob had attacked the temple and looted shops as they brandished swords and sticks. The police officers can be seen trying to stop these attackers, however, the Khalistani Sikhs continue to attack the shops around the Kali temple.
Hindu organisations meanwhile have given a call for Patiala Bandh, demanding the arrest of Khalistani supporters who attacked the Kali Mata Temple on Friday.
In the wake of the bandh, the district officials have imposed an 11-hour curfew, besides snapping mobile internet services in Patiala. According to the government order, all mobile internet and SMS services will remain suspended between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm.
The Punjab government has also removed Patiala Inspector General of Police Rakesh Agarwal from his post. The Punjab government also ordered the transfer of Patiala SSP and SP.
Earlier on Friday, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) leader Harish Singla was arrested by the Punjab Police in connection with this violence. Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) is the Punjab unit of Shiv Sena, a regional party from Maharashtra. Harish Singla, who claims to be the working president of Sena’s Punjab unit, had said the party had launched an anti-Khalistan march that came under attack from pro-Khalistan sympathisers and supporters. Following the attacks, Shiv Sena expelled Harish Singla.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has summoned a high-level meeting of officers following the attacks on the Hindu temple.
The FIR has been filed under Sections 153A, 380, 427, 147, 148, 149 of IPC and section 3 Precention of Damage to public property act 1984.
Incidentally the Kali Mata Temple in Patiala was subject to attack only in January this year.