A DAY ahead of Independence Day, two men breached security and entered the district administrative complex (deputy commissioner’s office building) in Moga Friday, raised a ‘Khalistan flag’ on the terrace and pulled down and desecrated an Indian flag hoisted on the premises.
Moga police registered an FIR under several sections of IPC including 124A (sedition) and 121 (waging war against the government), and other sections of the Prevention of Insult to National Honours Act.
Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said that the two youths, one of whom was wearing a turban, were captured on CCTV cameras and had “probably fallen in the trap of banned outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) head Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s announcement”. Pannu had offered $2,500 (around Rs 1.80 lakh) to anyone who would replace an Indian flag with that of ‘Khalistan’ atop buildings in Punjab and Haryana, ahead of India’s Independence Day.
Moga police said the incident took place around 8.15 am.
“The two youths reached the DC office complex terrace and hanged a ‘kesari’ (saffron) flag with Khanda (symbol of Sikh faith) printed on it. The flag also had ‘Khalistan’ written on it with paint. The flags with ‘Khanda’ are normally available in market. The banned Sikhs for Justice head Gurpatwant Singh Pannu has made several announcements offering $2,500 or $25,000 to those who would do this cowardly act.and it is most probably an act by those youths who wanted to make some easy money,” said Gill.
The SSP further said that the incident took place at a time when “people start coming to the office for their works”.
“As per the CCTV clips, they came around 8.15 am when sweepers had opened all rooms and offices for cleaning. They reached the terrace and raised this Khalistan flag and while returning, they took down the Indian national flag which was placed on the flag post. They first cut the string of the tricolour, brought it down and took it along with them. It was a cowardly and anti-national act,” said the SSP.
Meanwhile, after the incident, a video also went viral on social media in which one part showed the saffron flag being raised on the Moga DC’s office building and the other had visuals of the tricolour being torn in two. SSP Gill said, “We are verifying the video. It seems that some parts of the video are edited.Things will be clearer when the Indian flag will be recovered from them. They also probably did a recce earlier as they did not stay for more than ten minutes.”
Moga (city) DSP Barjinder Singh Bhullar however said that one part of the viral video seemed authentic. “The part of the video where the Khalistan flag is being raised atop the building is that of Moga administrative complex. The second part of Indian flag being torn is being verified. It might be edited,” said DSP.
Asked about the incident, Moga Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Hans said, “Cops were there on duty and one of them noticed that tricolour’s string was being cut. He ran to nab them but they managed to flee. It is being probed if there was any lapse on the part of security team.”
An FIR was registered at Moga City police station on the complaint of ASI Dhalwinder Singh, who was on duty when the incident happened. It was lodged under sections 121 (waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against Government of India), 121-A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121), 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) of IPC and section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honours Act, 1971.
Till the time of filing of this report, neither of the youths had been identified. Moga Police announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for anyone providing information on them.
In the several videos featuring SFJ head Pannu that have gone viral on social media, he has ‘promised’ a sum of USD 1,25,000 to any Sikh youth/individual who will replace the Indian flag with the ‘Khalistan’ flag at the Red Fort, Delhi.
For youths in Punjab and Haryana, he has offered $2,500 for placing a ‘Khalistan’ flag atop local administration and gram panchayat buildings. He also announced that when ‘Khalistan’ becomes reality, “Haryana, which was one a part of Punjab, will be a part of Khalistan”.
“Haryana Punjab da hissa si, jado Khalistan banega taan Haryana Khalistan da hissa hoyega. August 15 nu mauka hai, tirange nu la deo tey Khalistan da jhanda chadha deyo.Kisi ton daran di lod nahi hai, SFJ ohna sab nu $2,500 dayega,” he says in the videos.
MP blames Jathedar
Meanwhile, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, tweeted, “The poison being spread by Pannu and Jathedar Sahib has shown its affect in Moga where two persons removed the tricolour.and hoisted the Khalistani flag above DC office. The law should arrest these anti-national elements and put a mark of ‘traitors’ on their forehead. Now it is time to clearly differentiate between those who love this country and those who want to destroy it.”
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