Amritpal Singh: An emerging Pro-Khalistan leader
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Pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh came into lime light in Punjab state about one year ago when he took over Waris Punjab De, an organization formed by actor-activist Deep Sidhu before his death in an alleged accident in February 2022.
The 30-year-old Dubai-returned Singh is considered a part two of Sant Singh Bhindranwale, a preacher accused by the Indian government of leading an armed insurgency for a separate Sikh homeland in the 1980s. Sant was killed along with his hundreds of die-hard colleagues by Indian forces’ controversial Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple in 1984.
Sikh radical leader Amritpal has suddenly burst into Punjab's religiopolitical scene and his two recent public gatherings have attracted a sizable crowd that has made India’s policy makers panic.
Sikhs have become a community of slaves" – this is a message Amritpal Singh tries to push in most of his speeches.
On the other hand, Indian security agencies suspects the
sudden rise of the head of Waris Punjab De, Amritpal is part
of yet another attempt by Pakistan's ISI to repeat a scripted plot to whip up separatist sentiments in Punjab.
They identified Amritpal as a potential threat to peace in Punjab.
Agencies have thereafter shared regular updates with the Punjab police -- with several such interactions on record -- about Amritpal’s growing following among the radically-inclined Sikhs and his private army.
In a recent incident that has become a nightmare for the agencies. Thousands of Amritpal’s supporters marched into Ajnala town on Thursday afternoon defying prohibitory orders, clashed with the police, broke through barricades, fought pitched street battles and finally laid siege to the local police station for hours. On Friday, Punjab Amritsar Police gave in to protests and released a key aide of Amritpal Singh from jail, telling a court that he was found not guilty in an abduction case.
Police officials later claimed that they had been unable to stop the crowd as they were carrying a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib - the holy book venerated by Sikhs - as a shield.
The events propelled Singh to national attention. The most of intellectuals believed that the Amritpal Singh is bright and brings up issues like freedom of speech that finds resonance with the liberals. He has influenced Sikh youths, many of whom were probably born in the post-militancy period.