A saffron flag with ‘Khalistan’ written on it was seen on a flag pole outside the office of sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Baghapurana in district Moga, Wednesday. This is the fourth such incident where a flag with ‘Khalistan’ written on it has been found at a public place in Moga in last three weeks.
Police said that the pole on which the flag was found in the morning, was used for hoisting the national flag during the Independence Day programme.
“SDM had hoisted the national flag on this pole and later the Tricolor was removed. Around 9 am Wednesday, some unidentified persons installed a saffron flag with Khalistan written on it. It was first noticed by a security guard and removed immediately,” said Sub-inspector Harmanjit Singh, SHO Baghapurana police station.
SHO said that an FIR hasn’t been registered yet as according to a Supreme Court judgment, hoisting a flag isn’t an offence. “We are consulting legal experts,” said SHO.
SP (investigation) Jagatpreet Singh, said, “According to a Supreme Court order, raising such flags, which hold no constitutional validity, isn’t an offence. All these mischiefs are mostly being done to create tension and grab attention. The flag was removed immediately. We had registered an FIR in the August 14 incident because the national flag was desecrated then.”
On August 14, a day ahead of the Independence Day, two men had allegedly raised a Khalistan flag atop the Moga deputy commissioner’s office and also desecrated the national flag, while their third accomplice filmed the incident. Police arrested Akashdeep Singh (19), Jaspal Singh (27) and Inderjeet Singh (32). A fourth person, who gave Inderjeet and Jaspal shelter, too has been arrested. Police claimed that the trio did the act to earn easy money after getting influenced by the videos of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, a designated terrorist and the self-styled legal advisor of the banned US-based outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). Pannu had announced $2,500 for youths who will raise the ‘Khalistan flag’.
On August 23, a flag with ‘Khalistan’ written on it was found hanging with an iron angle at the railway overbridge near Kotkpaura Bypass in Moga. Prior to that, on the intervening night of August 15 and 16, a suspicious saffron flag, allegedly with ‘Khalistan’ written on it, was found placed at village Dhudike of Moga, the ancestral village of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai.