Patiala clash: Opposition attacks AAP govt over law and order situation in Punjab

Security personnel attempt to maintain law and order after a clash broke out between followers of Shiv Sena and pro-Khalistani Sikh organisations near Kali Mata Mandir in Patiala on Friday. Photo: PTI

Chandigarh: The Opposition in Punjab attacked the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government on Friday after a clash between two groups in Patiala, claiming that law and order has collapsed and there was "complete anarchy" in the state.

The parties also appealed to the people to maintain peace, harmony and brotherhood at all costs.

Four people were injured when stones were hurled as the groups clashed outside a Kali Mata temple in Patiala when members of an outfit that calls itself "Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray)" began a "Khalistan Murdabad March".

The local authorities clamped an 11-hour curfew in the district from 7 pm Friday and 6 am Saturday.

Patiala clash
During the clash near Kali Mata Mandir in Patiala on Friday. Photo: PTI

Following the incident, the Congress hit out at the AAP dispensation in the state.

"Complete anarchy in the state..Disturbing visuals from Patiala. It's high time that the Punjab CM gets his house in order. Law & order has collapsed in the past one month with one incident after the other taking place in the state. CM should immediately visit Patiala with DGP Punjab," senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Pratap Singh Bajwa tweeted.

Later talking to reporters, Bajwa said, "What happened in Patiala was unfortunate. Punjab has already paid a heavy price and gone through a difficult period (of militancy). Peace and brotherhood should be maintained at all costs."

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring termed the incident unfortunate and appealed to all to maintain peace and calm.

The state government should pay attention to the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab, he said.

Former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu said the incident occurred due to a gross failure of the state government.

"Punjabis are tied in with our Guru's teachings of Universal Brotherhood & Oneness. No antisocial elements should be allowed to incite divide in our society. Patiala incident occurred due to gross failure of Pb Govt to anticipate & control the mob. Responsibility should be fixed," he tweeted.

Patiala clash
During the clash near Kali Mata Mandir in Patiala on Friday. Photo: PTI

Former chief minister Amarinder Singh condemned the incident, alleging "it reflected the complete failure of the Aam Aadmi Party government to take care of law and order in the state".

He questioned how the administration allowed the situation to escalate to an extent that it resulted in violence.

Even a layman could foresee and make out that the proposed "protest march" could lead to violence, Singh pointed out. It is surprising that the police did not take any preemptive action, he added.

The Punjab Lok Congress chief, who is a former MLA from Patiala, issued a statement alleging that the law and order situation is continuously deteriorating in Punjab and the incidents in Patiala were only a part in a long series.

"With Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who also holds the home portfolio, having no authority of his own as all decisions are taken by Arvind Kejriwal, one cannot expect anything better," Singh alleged.

Mann has to get approval for everything from Delhi and he cannot handle emergency situations of his own, the former chief minister claimed.

"Mann is neither capable nor authorised to take any decisions, which bodes ill for Punjab," he added.

Singh also appealed to people to maintain peace and harmony at all costs and not to get carried away by provocations.

"Patiala has a history of harmony and brotherhood. Let us ensure that we preserve it at all costs," he appealed to people.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a tweet, said, "Patiala incidents deeply disturbing and a cause for grave concern for peace in Punjab."

"Administrative paralysis in the state has seen law and order situation drifting towards anarchy in recent weeks. I appeal to all Punjabis to maintain peace and communal harmony at all costs," he said.

BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh appealed to the people of Punjab to maintain communal peace and amity, and asked the AAP government to keep the law and order situation under control.

Expressing serious concerns over the clash, Chugh said, "It reflected a complete collapse of the law and order machinery in the state for which Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is squarely responsible."

He questioned the state government for allowing the crowd to assemble at the temple site where the violent clash took place.

Punjab being a border state needed very tight control on law and order, Chugh said.

There has been a series of law and order problems since the AAP came into power which was overlooked and ignored, he claimed.

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