THE MOGA Police on Thursday claimed to have identified the three people involved in the hoisting of a ‘Khalistan flag’ atop the deputy commissioner’s office building and desecration of the tricolour, a day ahead of Independence Day. While one of them was arrested, the other two are still on the run.
Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said Akashdeep Singh alias Munna (19) from Sadhu Singh Wala village of Ferozepur, Jaspal Singh alias Ampa and Inderjeet Singh, both from Rauli village of Moga did it with hope of being rewarded the $2,500 offered by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s banned outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).
Jaspal’s father is a police inspector.
Police said Akashdeep allegedly recorded the video standing on the road while Jaspal and Inderjeet went inside the building and raised the flag on the rooftop. Akashdeep (19) was arrested from Bathinda.
SSP Gill said, “Akashdeep was pursuing a diploma course at ITI Moga. Though he belongs to Sadhu Singh Wala village of Ferozepur where his father works as a construction contractor, he was living in Rauli with his relatives. Akashdeep and Jaspal are maternal cousins and Inderjeet was their friend. The trio planned this to earn easy money after seeing Pannu’s videos online, in which he promised $2,500 to the youths who will raise Khalistan flags atop government buildings in Punjab and Haryana ahead of the country’s Independence Day.”
Jaspal Singh, in his twenties, was running a small internet cafe in Rauli. Inderjeet Singh used to do small-time sale/purchase business online for companies and his father is a small-time agriculturist owning just two acres. Police said Inderjeet was not on talking terms with his father.
SSP Gill said, “According to Akashdeep, they had transferred the video on the numbers given by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun but did not receive any money. He has not received any money. Whether the two others got any money will be clear only after they are arrested.”
SSP said Jaspal and Inderjeet did a recce of the DC office on August 13 and in the evening called Akashdeep Singh on WhatsApp, and explained their plan to him.
“They reached DC office around 8 am on August 14, on two motorbikes — a black Platina of Jaspal Singh and red Hero Honda Deluxe of Inderjeet Singh — stopped in front of the Nestle gate. Akashdeep was instructed to make a video of the flag being hoisted over the rooftop of the DC office,” the officer added.
He said Jaspal and Inderjeet went inside and raised the Khalistan flag and on their way back they cut the rope of the Indian National Flag and took it along with them before fleeing to Rauli. Akashdeep Singh met the other two again at Rauli, where the video was transferred to Jaspal Singh’s phone who further transferred it to the Whatsapp number given by Pannu in his video, he added.
SSP Gill said that following a tip-off, police arrested Akashdeep Singh from Bathinda, who had confessed to having shot the video of the act.
During his interrogation, he revealed that they had seen YouTube videos of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and wanted to make a quick buck.
An FIR was registered against two unidentified youths under the sections 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death or imprisonment of life), 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 Honors Act, 1971.
Anticipating surrender, court complex turned into a fortress
Anticipating that the two other accused will surrender, the Moga court complex was turned into a fortress with heavy police security on Thursday, but the duo did not surrender till the filing of this report.
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