Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Saturday said the clashes in Patiala were between two political parties and not two communities, as he blamed the Akali Dal and the BJP for the violence. He said a probe to ascertain who instigated the violence is underway, and nobody involved will be spared howsoever high positions he or she might be occupying. “This was a clash between two political parties and not between two communities. In Punjab people live in peace. A probe is going on over who instigated the violent incidents. No one will be spared,” he told reporters.
Mann is here to attend the conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts. “It is the opposition which is instigating such incidents as they cannot see the success of Aam Aadmi Party in the state and that is why they are indulging in this,” he alleged. The clashes took place outside the Kali Mata temple when members of an outfit that calls itself Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) began a ‘Khalistan Murdabad March’. Some Sikh activists, including Nihangs, took out another march against the Sena event. Four people were injured in the clashes. Mann said that on the day of the violence state BJP president Ashwani Sharma was going there to pay respects at the temple. “Why was he going there?” “We will not spare anyone whosoever he is and whichever position one is occupying,” he said.
The Punjab government on Saturday shunted out three senior police officials, including an inspector general, and suspended mobile internet and SMS services in Patiala district, a day after the clashes.