‘Khalistan’ flags hung above the gates of the Himachal Assembly

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has ordered an investigation after ‘Khalistan’ flags were found hanging over the gates and border wall of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in Dharamshala this morning. Pro-Khalistan graffiti was also painted on the walls. State police said they suspect the involvement of tourists from Punjab.

The state, Prime Minister Thakur said, will review security along the borders with neighboring states: Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Punjab. Himachal Pradesh attracts tourists from all over India.

“It could have happened late at night or early in the morning today,” Khushal Sharma, police chief of the Kangra region, was quoted as saying by the ANI news agency.

“We have removed the Khalistan flags from the Vidhan Sabha gate. It could be an act of some tourists from Punjab. We are going to register a case today,” Sharma said.

An intelligence alert issued on April 26 had warned of such an incident, the sources said.

The alert claimed that the head of Sikhs for Justice, Gurupatwant Singh Pannu, had sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh stating that a Bhindranwale and Khalistan flag would be raised in Shimla, the sources said.

Himachal Pradesh had banned vehicles carrying Bhindranwale and Khalsitani flags, stirring the SFJ. The organization had announced that it would raise the Khalistani flag on March 29, but was unable to do so due to heavy security.

“I condemn the cowardly incident of raising Khalistan flags at the gate of the Dharamshala Assembly Complex in the dead of night. Only the winter session is held here so more security arrangements are needed during that time only,” Chief Minister Thakur tweeted in Hindi this morning.

“Taking advantage of this, this cowardly incident has been carried out, but we will not tolerate it. This incident will be investigated immediately and strict action will be taken against the culprits. I would like to tell those people that if you have the courage, go out in the light of day, not in the dark of night,” read a second tweet.

Thakur said the culprits took advantage of the police deployment inside the Assembly campus.

“The incident is said to have occurred at night. The police are deployed inside the Vidhan Sabha campus as it is very large. This is how the poster was placed on the wall and on the main door of the Assembly. The images from the security cameras are being investigated to get a clue about the culprits,” he said, quoted by the ANI news agency.

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