Police went on alert Wednesday after the “Khalistan Zindabad” slogan was found scrawled on the wall of a government building here and a video surfaced online, threatening to target the Cricket World Cup and “avenge” separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing in Canada.
The slogan was spray-painted in black on the wall of the Jal Shakti department building in the city, which is set to host five of the matches. The World Cup begins Thursday.
Police said two suspects have been identified on the basis of CCTV footage from the area. An eight-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by a deputy superintendent of police was formed.
In a statement, the state police said the video on social media refers to the graffiti in Dharamshala and carries a voice message reportedly from Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is based abroad and runs an organisation called Sikhs for Justice.
The video threatened that the World Cup final, scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad, will be targeted.
Police said there are references in the clip to “avenging” Nijjar’s killing, and pro-Khalistan graffiti and flags in Dharamshala. The clip also says “Himachal Pradesh Banega Khalistan” (the state will turn into Khalistan).
Nijjar’s murder in June set off a major diplomatic row recently between India and Canada after Ottawa suggested that Delhi was behind the killing.
Kangra Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri said authorities were informed about the Khalistan graffiti on Tuesday night. A police team reached the spot and got the wall repainted, she said.
CCTV footage showed the suspects taking pictures after writing the slogan, police said.
Police said a meeting with officials from the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and Criminal Investigation Department was then held.
Five additional patrol teams and local intelligence units were deployed in Dharamshala and Mcleodganj areas, they added.
Kangra Police registered a case of disfigurement and damage to public property.
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