Himachal Pradesh: Banned Sikh Groups Charged Over ‘Khalistan’ Flags At Dharmashala

Dharamshala: In connection with the appearance of ‘Khalistan’ banners and graffiti on the walls of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly in Dharamshala yesterday, the leader of the banned organization Sikhs for Justice has been named as the main accused.

The strict anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been used to accuse Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. In 2019, the Centre banned his organization, Sikhs for Justice, for anti-India actions.

After Sikhs for Justice called for a ‘Khalistan’ referendum on June 6, Himachal Police have increased security in the state. Security has been increased at major government facilities and interstate crossings have been blocked.

” Keeping in view the incidents of Khalistani elements in neighboring States and also incident of tying a Khalistani banner took place in Una district on 11.04.2022 and recent incident of hoisting banners & graffiti of Khalistan on the outer boundary of Vidhan Sabha in Dharamshala as well as the threat posed by Sikhs for Justice (SJF) regarding announcement of 6th June, 2022 as voting date for Khalistan Referendum in Himachal Pradesh, the DGP-HP has issued directions to the field formations to remain on high alert from today,” an order issued by state police chief Sanjay Kundu said.

Senior police officers have been ordered to keep a watchful eye on probable hideouts of members of the outlawed organisation, including hotels, according to the directive. They’ve also been told to have bomb disposal teams and special forces on standby in case of an emergency.

Security staff protecting all critical buildings have been instructed to be alerted so that they can alert police if they see anything suspect.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had ordered an investigation when the Khalistan banners and graffiti appeared.

According to reports, an intelligence notice released on April 26 warned of such an incident. According to the notice, Gurupatwant Singh Pannu, the chairman of Sikhs for Justice, had written to the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, stating that a flag of Sikh extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale with the word ‘Khalistan’ would be flown in Shimla.

It is understood that Himachal Pradesh’s decision to prohibit vehicles bearing Bhindranwale and Khalistani flags enraged the banned organisation.

“I condemn the cowardly incident of raising Khalistan flags at the gate of Dharamshala Assembly Complex in the dark of night. Only winter session is held here, so there is a need for more security arrangements only during that time,” Chief Minister Thakur tweeted in Hindi this morning.

“Taking advantage of this, this cowardly incident has been carried out, but we will not tolerate it. This incident will be investigated immediately and strict action will be taken against the culprits. I would like to tell those people that if you have the courage, then come out in the light of day, not in the dark of night,” a second tweet read.

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