The Punjab Police announced on Sunday arrests of six more persons, including the main accused Barjinder Singh Parwana, in connection with clashes in Patiala earlier this week, taking the total number of arrests so far to nine.
Parwana, 38, was presented before a court in Patiala and was sent to four-day police remand. Patiala Range Inspector General Mukhwinder Singh Chhina said he was arrested from Mohali.
Violence erupted in Patiala outside Kali Mata temple on Friday when members of an outfit called Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) began a "Khalistan Murdabad March". Some Sikh activists, including Nihangs, took out another march against anti-Khalistan march. Swords were brandished in the clashes and stones were pelted, leading to injuries to four people. The police had to fire in the air to control the situation.
Six FIRs have been registered in the matter and a total of 25 people had been named in them.
Besides Parwana, the police has also arrested Harish Singla, the “working president” of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray). He is charged with taking out a procession without permission and instigating violence. IG Chhina said police also arrested Shankar Bhardwaj, an accomplice of Harish Singla, and Ashwani Kumar Gaggi Pandit, who made hate speeches.
The police also arrested Shivdev, a resident of village Bal Sikandar in Fatehgarh Sahib district, Davinder Singh, a resident of Haryana's Jind, and Rajinder Singh of Samana in Patiala.
About Parwana alias Sunny, the police said that he is a man with a criminal record with four FIRs lodged against him — three in Patiala and one in Mohali. He is known for making provocative speeches on social media. He went to Singapore in 2007-08 and returned after staying there for 18 months. He set up his own Sikh seminary ‘Damdami Taksal’ at Rajpura. He had also participated in the farmers' protest against the three central farm laws.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney appealed to people not to share any objectionable videos or messages on social media which could lead to unrest in society and create conflict between communities. She said information about such posts should be reported through direct message on the Twitter handle @DCPatialaPb and WhatsApp number for taking suitable legal action in the matter.
Sawhney further said peace committee meetings were being held in all the subdivisions of the district.
The incident of clashes in Patiala is the first major law and order incident in the state under the Bhagwant Mann-led state government. Opposition parties had attacked the AAP-led regime, alleging that the law and order in the state had collapsed.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party and Akali Dal in the Opposition for the violence.
Mann said, "It is the Opposition which is instigating such incidents as they cannot see the success of Aam Aadmi Party in the state and that is why they are indulging in this."
He added that state BJP president Ashwani Sharma was going to pay respects at the temple on the day of violence.
He further said, "Why was he going there? We will not spare anyone whosoever he is and whichever position one is occupying."
(With PTI inputs)