Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh was raising his own army, family moves HC as manhunt continues | Key points
Punjab Police on Sunday conducted flag marches and searches across the state in their manhunt for radical preacher Amritpal Singh, arresting 34 more supporters.
By Manjeet Sehgal: On the run, after Punjab Police launched a crackdown against him and his aides, the chief of Waris Punjab De, Amritpal Singh, was trying to raise his own army – the Anandpur Khalsa Force (AKF) – on the lines of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF).
The Amritsar police on Sunday recovered some jackets with the AKF logo.
A visit to Amritpal’s ancestral home at Jallupur Kheda revealed that he had also printed AKF on the entrance of his house besides a wall facing the house.
Sources within the police said that Amritpal’s aides, arrested from various places, were being questioned in this regard. Amritpal will also be questioned once he is arrested, they added.
Meanwhile, Jallupur Kheda wears a deserted look following the police crackdown. The number of paramilitary and police jawans deployed in his village has also been reduced.
India Today TV tried to speak to the locals but they refused to talk on camera. The unregistered makeshift drug rehab centre being run by Amritpal Singh has also been shut down.
The police have asked nearly 70 to 80 addicts to leave the village, Singh’s father said.
According to the sources, Amritpal Singh would ask these people to join his force. Many of them, who later became his aides, were drug addicts and peddlers.
AMRITPAL ARRESTED, CLAIMS HIS FATHER
Meanwhile, Amritpal Singh’s father, Tarsem Singh (61), told India Today TV that the police have arrested his son but were not disclosing it. He said he has not been contacted by the police so far.
#WATCH | Amritsar: We don't have correct info about him (Amritpal Singh). Police conducted searches for 3-4 hours at our house. They didn't find anything illegal…Police should have arrested him when he left from the house…: Tarsem Singh, Father of Amritpal Singh to ANI pic.twitter.com/QACVqh1FkX
— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2023
Questioning the police, Tarsem Singh asked why the police did not arrest his son from Jallupur Kheda.
“My son is not an ISI agent. He was just promoting religion and helping people leave drugs. The police did not take any action against the drug smugglers but the person who was saving people from falling into the trap is being harassed,” Tarsem Singh said, adding that the family fears that Singh might be killed in an encounter.
FAMILY MOVES HIGH COURT
Amritpal Singh’s family has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to trace Singh, who, according to the police, is on the run.
The petition has been moved under Article 226 of the Constitution, claiming that Singh has forcibly been detained by the police.
WARISH PUNJAB DE’s BLEAK FUTURE
The controversial pro-Khalistani organisation Waris Punjab De, established by Deep Sidhu during the farmer agitation, is facing a bleak future after the Punjab Police’s crackdown against Amritpal Singh and his aides.
While the police have already arrested over 100 supporters of Amritpal, he is also facing arrest after charges were filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. According to sources, the police may add other serious charges to the FIRs.
A huge poster of Waris Punjab De has been put up in the middle of a wheat field in Jallupur Kheda. The poster has photographs of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Deep Sidhu and Amritpal Singh. This is the only poster of Waris Punjab De in Jallupur Kheda.
Hundreds of supporters thronged the venues everytime Amritpal Singh addressed the crowd. A sizable number of his supporters have gone underground after the police crackdown. More arrests are expected in the days to come.
Sources close to the Punjab Police said that Amritpal Singh will likely be lodged in a jail outside the state. Many of his supporters, arrested on Saturday and earlier, are currently in jails in Assam’s Dibrugarh.
The Punjab Police so far has been successful in maintaining the law and order in the state.