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‘Mastermind’ behind Patiala clashes held, total arrests now 9

The police said that as many as six more accused, including Parwana’s accomplice Shankar Bhardwaj and one Gaggi Pandit who had circulated a hate speech on social media, were arrested in the wake of six FIRs lodged after the Patiala violence, taking the total number of arrests to nine.

By: Express News Service | Patiala |
Updated: May 2, 2022 10:46:33 am
Barjinder Singh Parwana in Patiala, Sunday. (Express photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

The alleged mastermind behind the violent clashes in Patiala, Barjinder Singh Parwana, has been arrested, taking the total number of arrests so far to nine.

Patiala Range IG M S Chhina announced the arrest at a press conference Sunday, saying more than 20 police teams were on the trail of Parwana, 38, who was held in Mohali and brought to Patiala. A Patiala court remanded him in police custody for four days.

Clashes had broken out between members of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), which had called for an “anti-Khalistan” march, and Sikh activists and Nihangs outside Patiala’s Kali Mata temple on Friday. The two sides brandished swords and pelted stones at each other, leaving at least four persons, including two policemen, injured.

It was the first major law-and-order incident in the state under the new Aam Aadmi Party government.

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A resident of Rajpura in the district, Parwana was one of the masterminds of Friday’s incident, according to police. He is accused of leading Sikh radicals during the incident.

Police said Parwana had four FIRs lodged against him, and was known for making provocative speeches on social media. Having spent time in Singapore in 2007-08, he had returned and set up ‘Damdami Taksal’ at Rajpura. He had also participated in the farmers’ protests against the three central farm laws, police said.

Apart from Parwana, six more accused have been arrested, including Shankar Bhardwaj (reportedly the district president of the Shiv Sena-Bal Thackeray); Gaggi Pandit, accused of circulating hate speech on social media; Shivdev, a resident of village Bal Sikandar in Fatehgarh Sahib district; Davinder Singh, a resident of Haryana’s Jind; and Rajinder Singh, a resident of Samana in Patiala.

The nine arrested include the now-expelled working president of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), Harish Singla.

Six FIRs had been lodged after the violence, with 25 people named in them. Patiala SSP Deepak Parik said the key conspirators and rumour-mongers from both sides had been arrested and further investigation was on.

IG Chhina said all care was being taken to ensure that no innocent person is arrested and no guilty person is spared.

IG and Patiala Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney, who was also present at the press conference, appealed to the public against sharing anything that could create tension, before checking with the administration.

(with PTI inputs)

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