Parts of Patiala in Punjab are tense after two groups clashed during an anti-Khalistan protest march today. The police fired in the air to disperse the crowd. At least two people are believed to have been injured in the clashes. A curfew has been imposed in the city from 7 pm today till 6 am tomorrow.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann called the incident unfortunate and vowed his government would not let anyone create disturbance in the state.
"The incident of clashes in Patiala are deeply unfortunate. I spoke with the DGP (police chief), peace has been restored in the area. We are closely monitoring the situation and will not let anyone create disturbance in the State. Punjab's peace and harmony is of utmost importance," Mr Mann said.
The district administration has also appealed to residents to maintain peace and harmony, requesting the two groups to resolve their "dispute or misunderstanding" through a dialogue.
Clashes broke out after the procession held by the group which identifies itself as Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) came face to face with a Sikh group that is believed to be pro-Khalistan.
Members of the two groups also waved swords and threw stones at each other.
"Peace and harmony is central to all our religions and their basic ethos. Even if there is any dispute or misunderstanding, it is important to resolve it by dialogue. As such, the District Administration appeals to all brothers and sisters of Patiala and Punjab to continue to maintain peace and brotherhood. The present situation is under control and being continuously monitored. All measures are being taken to ensure peace and harmony," Patiala District Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney said in a statement.
"Visuals from Patiala are disturbing. I repeat, peace and harmony are most imperative in a sensitive border state like Punjab. This is not the place to carry out experiments. Earnestly appeal to the Punjab government to ensure law and order is maintained," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said.
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) took out the march without police permission, police sources told NDTV.