Hunt for Khalistani Leader Continues; 4 Aides Face National Security Act Charges
Amritpal Singh was last observed swerving off on a motorcycle in Jalandhar on Saturday night. The police have launched a massive operation to find him.
It was a bit of an anticlimax when he managed to escape from arrest on Saturday, especially for someone who fancied themselves as Bhindranwale 2.0 after storming a police station last month to secure the release of a friend.
When security forces stopped the self-styled preacher Amritpal Singh’s cavalcade, he slithered away without showing any bravery.
Many of his supporters were detained by the police, but he was able to escape. Because Internet connectivity was cut off in the state, he was unable to make a spectacle out of the police action.
The men and women in khaki demonstrated they were made of sterner stuff this time, in contrast to the Punjab Police, who meekly capitulated in February of last year before a mob led by Amritpal that brandished swords and firearms. Denying Amritpal the oxygen of public sympathy and attention was a calculated move.
Amritpal has been dressing and acting like pro-Khalistan leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to imitate him. He also holds an arrow, uses religion as a shield, and surrounds himself with a squad of armed bodyguards.
Security forces, however, didn’t find that to be natural because he wasn’t a trained preacher and didn’t adhere to Sikhism’s principles until he became radicalized in Dubai before returning home last year.
He also attempted to issue edicts without first seeking approval from those who had been given official authority by the faith to do so. He gave increasingly more ferocious speeches to incite fanaticism.
He continued by threatening Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Union Home Minister Amit Shah with the same fates as Indira Gandhi and Beant Singh, respectively.
In 1984’s Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple, Bhindranwale was killed, and as payback, Indira and Beant were killed. However, the state government dragged its feet in taking action until Mann recently received a prod from Shah.
The state has become a dangerous mix for anti-national activities due to the youth’s unrest brought on by a lack of employment opportunities, easy access to drugs, gun-running from Pakistan, and an inept administration.
Using funding and guidance from Khalistani separatists abroad who are cooperating with Pakistan’s deep state, Amritpal is taking advantage of this groundswell of disenchantment to increase the size of his support base. One hopes that both political parties will support the police action. Punjab cannot afford to return to the gloomy era of militancy.
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