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'Khalistan' Flags In Himachal Pradesh Assembly, State On High Alert: 10 Points

Himachal Pradesh Police booked Sikhs for Justice leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun under anti-terror law UAPA and sealed the state’s borders after Khalistsni flags were put on the gates of the state assembly complex in Dharamshala.

'Khalistan' Flags In Himachal Pradesh Assembly, State On High Alert: 10 Points
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The Himachal Pradesh Police booked Sikhs for Justice leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun under anti-terror law UAPA and sealed the state’s borders after Khalistsni flags were put up on the gates of the state assembly complex in Dharamshala on Sunday. 

The state was put on high alert on Sunday after witnessing flags with Khalistani symbols found draped outside the state Assembly, Pro-Khalistan graffiti was also painted on the walls of the Assembly.

Himachal Pradesh police chief Sanjay Kundu also ordered the sealing of the state’s border and beefing up of the state-wide security, citing “pro-Khalistan activities” in the state and the banned outfit’s announcement of a Khalistan “referendum day” on June 6.

Here are 10 latest developments in the case from Himachal Pradesh:

1. Security has been put on high alert at the state borders and "intensive" night patrolling by the police has been ordered.

2. The renewed security measure comes after the banned outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) announced that it will hold a 'Khalistan' referendum on June 6 in     Himachal Pradesh. The order copy also details several recent incidents involving pro-Khalistan activities in neighbouring states.

3. CM Jairam Thakur had ordered an investigation after flags of 'Khalistan' were found draped over the gates and boundary wall of the Himachal Pradesh   Legislative Assembly in Dharamshala and pro-Khalistan graffiti was painted on its walls.

4. Chief Minister Thakur to review the security along the borders with neighbouring states -- Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and   Punjab. Himachal Pradesh attracts tourists from across India.

5. Himachal Pradesh had banned vehicles carrying Bhindranwale and Khalsitani flags, which agitated the SFJ. The organisation had announced that it would hoist the Khalistani flag on March 29 but could not do so due to heavy security.

6. The HP police chief also directed various field formations “to sensitise all the security staff/chowkidars of government buildings, banks, PSUs about the threat and to advise them to report any matter of concern to the local police station immediately. Pannun had earlier also called for hoisting the Khalistani flag in Shimla on April 29.

7. The SIT has been directed to take up the investigation of the case immediately and carry out a professional and impartial investigation to ensure transparency, the HP police chief said. “The SIT has also been directed to contact with the state and central intelligence agencies to unearth the inter-state and international linkages if any,” he added.

8. Kundu also ordered to “seal” the state’s border and beef up security at crowded and sensitive places in Himachal Pradesh. The HP DGP also asked the various field formations of the HP Police to remain on high alert in view of the incidents of Khalistani elements in the neighbouring states and also that of   the putting up of a Khalistani banner in the Una district on April 11. His directions followed “also in view of the incident of hoisting banners and graffiti of   Khalistan on the outer boundary of Vidhan Sabha in Dharamshala as well as the threat posed by SJF's announcement of June 6 as the voting date for   Khalistan Referendum in Himachal Pradesh”.

9. The “sealing” of the border implies strict checks on vehicles and people entering the hilly state, police said. HP Director General of Police Kundu said   Pannun has been booked as the main accused under section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sections 153 A and 153 B of the India Penal   Code, besides section 3 of the HP Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1985. While section 13 of the UAPA pertains to the offence of inciting or abetting terror acts, sections 153 A and 153 B of the IPC deal with the offences of promoting communal or sectarian divides and animosity.

10. Additional DGP-CID, range IGs and DIGs and district police chiefs too have been directed “to seal all interstate borders/barriers and keep a strict vigil at the places of probable hideouts i.e. hotels and inns of criminal elements, he said. “They have been directed to keep the special security units (SSUs), bomb disposal squads and quick reactions teams (QRTs) in position and on high alert and strengthen the security of dams, railway stations, bus stands, towns, government buildings and vital installations,” said Kundu.

(with inputs from PTI)

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