Punjabi NRI assaulted in Himachal; SAD, Cong leaders link it to Kangana incident

Kawaljit Singh in hospital..
Kawaljit Singh in hospital..

Chandigarh | A Punjab-origin non-resident Indian (NRI) on Saturday alleged that he was assaulted by a group of men after an argument over parking when he was visiting Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.

Kawaljit Singh, who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Amritsar, claimed that he was targeted as he was Punjabi, but Himachal Pradesh police denied it and said the incident is not linked to any "interstate or inter-community dispute".

The incident has sparked a row with Punjab NRI Affairs Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia demanding action from the Himachal Pradesh government in the case.

Majithia and Aujla even suggested that the attack was linked to the recent incident involving actor and BJP MP from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh Kangana Ranaut, who was allegedly slapped by a CISF woman constable at Chandigarh airport.

Singh and his Spanish wife, who had been living in Spain for 25 years, had returned to Punjab recently. He said he went along with his wife and a relative to the tourist destination of Dalhousie two days ago.

Singh alleged that he was attacked by a group of around 100 people following an argument over some parking issue.

He also alleged police apathy in the matter. But a senior IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh rejected Singh's claims.

"Singh had come to Khajjiar in Chamba district and was doing palm reading for some women. Someone felt offended by this act and there was a scuffle. Later, both parties reached a compromise in front of the police," IG (Northern Range) Santosh Patial told PTI on Saturday.

"He had given in writing that he wants no legal action and left," the police officer said.

"There is nothing like an interstate or inter-community dispute and tourists are welcome in Himachal," Patial said.

"Thousands of tourists are coming to the state every day during the summer season and it is just an isolated incident that occurred as some people felt offended by Singh's actions," he said.

Congress MP from Amritsar Aujla, who reached the hospital to inquire about the well-being of Singh, claimed, “They (attackers) took the name of Kangana and told them (Singh) what you did with her we did with you, which is unfortunate and wrong.”

Aujla said he will ask Himachal Pradesh chief minister to take action against the culprits. “An FIR should be lodged and miscreants should be arrested,” said Aujla in Amritsar.

SAD leader Majithia condemned the incident and alleged that it was due to the impact of Kangana Ranaut's statement that people in HP are now "targeting tourists from Punjab".

Punjab NRI Affairs Minister Dhaliwal said he will write to the Himachal Pradesh CM seeking action in the case.

Kangana Ranaut had recently accused CISF woman constable Kulwinder Kaur of slapping her at the Chandigarh airport when she was heading to Delhi after being elected to the Lok Sabha from Mandi.

The constable was suspended and an FIR was lodged in the matter.

In the statement titled "Shocking rise in terror and violence in Punjab" posted on X, the BJP MP had narrated the incident involving the constable.

"She hit me in the face and started abusing me. I asked her why she did it and she said she supports the farmer protests.

"I am safe but my concern is that terrorism and extremism are increasing in Punjab... How do we handle that?" Kangana Ranaut had said.

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