Waris Punjab de leader, Amritpal Singh is believed to be linked with ISI, according to official sources.
Radical preacher Amritpal Singh, for whom a massive manhunt has been initiated in Punjab is believed to be linked with ISI, according to official sources, reported by PTI. It has been said that he came into contact with ISI agents while working in Dubai as a transport agent. Amritpal, who is charged with multiple criminal cases, fled from the police on Saturday. The police took action against Singh a day ahead of his state-wide religious procession “Khalsa Wahir”.
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Who is Amritpal Singh?
Singh has previously come into the news as a radical youth preacher for his Khalistani sympathies. He is a follower of Jarnail Singh Bhrindranwale, who wanted to form Khalistan and was apprehended in Operation Bluestar in 1984. In Dubai, Amritpal worked at his family-owned transport business, where the officials believe he came in contact with ISI, the intelligence agency of Pakistan. According to officials, Singh was sent by ISI to revive terrorism in India.
Singh is the chief of ‘Waris Punjab de’. Singh is also known as Bhrindranwale 2.0 as he imitates the latter’s style. Armed men in traditional Sikh attire accompany him. He believes “Punjab is for Punjabis” and openly preaches about his separatist ideas and the formation of Khalistan. He encourages Sikh youths to join an armed rebellion to fulfil the ultimate dream of forming Khalistan.
Amritpal’s Khalistani connections
Amritpal is said to have strong connections with Avtar Singh Khanda, a UK-based Khalistani leader and Paramjit Singh, leader of Babbar Khalsa International. Khanda, from Birmingham and Glasgow, gives online tutorials on how to make explosives with ordinary, available chemicals.
The name of Lakhbir Singh Rode, chief of the International Sikh Youth Federation, has also appeared in connections with Amritpal. Lakhbir is wanted in India for smuggling arms and explosives.
Threat to the Home Minister
The separatist leader believes what he is asking for “is not about dividing the country, it’s about asking for our (their) rights”. Citing the example of Indira Gandhi, he threatened Home Minister Amit Shah last February. Singh said, on camera that if attempts are made to ‘crush’ his group, then they will resort to violence. He also said that by calling threats on them, Shah is threatening the entire Sikh community.
Amritpal’s associates caught
In the Shahkot-Mehatpur area, Singh and his associates came in close contact with the Punjab police. While he and his other men are still on the run, Punjab police have arrested seven of his close associates. The police have launched a huge “state-wide cordon and search operation” (CASO).
The police chase of the Waris Punjab De chief was live-streamed and circulated later as short clips on the internet. The government thus suspended the internet in many areas of Punjab.
78 people had been arrested by Saturday evening in the massive manhunt launched by the police and several others had been detained. In many districts, including Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Fazilka, Muktsar and Faridkot, the administrations have imposed CrPC Section 144. Punjab police have urged the public not to spread fake news and to remain calm as they try to restore peace.
Amritpal’s father’s reaction
Amritpal’s father, Tarsem Singh has said to the media that the police have conducted their home but have found nothing illegal. He said, “The police should have arrested him and then left the house in the morning”.
Tarsem Singh also said that the actions taken against Amritpal are “unjustified”. He said that his son has been working against drugs, which is why there is political pressure to arrest him. He criticised the police asking why they aren’t taking action against drug smuggling.