Sikhs For Justice leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun booked under UAPA after ‘Khalistan’ flags come up outside Himachal Pradesh Assembly complex

The U.S.-based Sikhs For Justice leader booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Updated - November 22, 2023 11:26 pm IST

Published - May 08, 2022 11:29 pm IST - Shimla

U.S.-based Sikhs For Justice leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun was booked under anti-terror law UAPA and other penal offences on Sunday after Khalistani banners were found put up and graffiti scrawled on walls near the main gate of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly complex in Dharamshala, police said.

Amid some pro-Khalistan activities in parts of Himachal and other neighbouring States and the announcement of June 6 as Khalistan “referendum day”, the State police chief also ordered the “sealing” of the border and beefing up state-wide security at sensitive and crowded places.

The State border has been “sealed” to regulate movements of suspicious elements across it and keeping a strict vigil there, police said.

Himachal Pradesh Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has been booked as the main accused under section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sections 153 A and 153 B of the India Penal Code, besides section 3 of the HP Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1985.

While section 13 of the UAPA pertains to the offence of inciting or abetting terror acts, sections 153 A and 153 B of the IPC deal with the offences of promoting communal or sectarian divides and animosity.

Mr. Kundu said the FIR against Pannun and others was lodged on the complaint of Ram Chand alias Ajay Kumar of Kaned village under Dharamshala tehsil of the Kangra district.

The DGP also set up a seven-member Special Investigation Team to expeditiously investigate the case.

As a common practice, the winter session of the Assembly is held at Dharamshala, while the other sessions are held at the Assembly in Shimla. Currently, the Assembly is not in session.

CM promises action

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the incident took place during Saturday night. He said the incident would be probed quickly and strict action taken against those involved.

“I condemn the cowardly incident of raising ‘Khalistan’ flags at the gate of Dharamshala Assembly Complex in the night,” said Mr. Thakur in a tweet.

He said, “As there is only winter session held in this [Dharamshala] Assembly, hence the need for added security arrangements is required during that time. Taking advantage of this, this cowardly incident has been carried out, but we will not tolerate it.”

“This incident will be investigated quickly and strict action taken against the culprits. I would like to tell those people that if you have the courage, then come out in the light of day, not in the night,” he added.

(With PTI inputs)

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