Patiala: Two Groups Clash at March Against 'Pro-Khalistan' Activists

A few people were injured in the incident, which reportedly saw stone pelting. Police have reportedly had to fire in the air to disperse a crowd.

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New Delhi: A clash broke out between two groups in Patiala on Friday, April 29, and police had to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

Indian Express has reported that members of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) led by Harish Singla, who had called a march against “pro-Khalistan” activists, clashed with Sikh activists and Nihangs.

Nihangs had gathered at a gurdwara, Dukh Niwaran Sahib, and marched towards the local Kali Mata temple where the clash took place.

A few people were injured in the incident, which reportedly saw stone pelting. Videos circulating on social media show crowds chanting.

When asked to comment on the incident, Patiala Inspector General of Police Rakesh Agarwal told reporters that the incident took place as “some mischievous elements” had spread rumours that some protesters had been attacked.”

“We have controlled the situation. We are conducting a flag march in Patiala city.”

He also said that there had been heavy police deployment.

“We have called in forces from outside. A peace committee meeting has been called by the Deputy Commissioner,” he said, adding that restoring peace in the area was the police’s priority.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann called the incident unfortunate and said he was in touch with the DGP of Punjab police.

“The incident of clashes in Patiala is deeply unfortunate. I have spoken to the DGP; peace has been restored in the area. We are closely monitoring the situation and will not let anyone create disturbance in the state,” Mann said in a tweet.

He said Punjab’s peace and harmony is of utmost importance.

Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Sakshi Sawhney has meanwhile issued an appeal to all to maintain calm and “not to lend credence to any rumours.”

Opposition party Congress and its leaders have blamed the Mann government for the law and order situation. Former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh too has tweeted on the clash.

Meanwhile, the news agency ANI has reported that the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has written a letter to the Chief Secretary of Punjab asking a detailed report on the clash.

(With PTI inputs)