The Punjab government on Saturday launched a major crackdown against radical preacher and pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh and his supporters, with the police arresting 78 members of an organization led by Singh. Singh’s convoy was intercepted in Jalandhar district, but he managed to escape after dodging the police. Authorities tightened security at several places and suspended internet and SMS services in the state till Sunday afternoon. Police said it has launched a “massive state-wide cordon and search operation (CASO)” against people associated with Waris Punjab De (WPD) led by Singh.
Several criminal cases were registered against Amritpal Singh. According to the police, a total of 78 people have been arrested so far during the operation, while several others have been detained for questioning. A police spokesman said Amritpal Singh and some others are absconding and a massive operation has been launched to nab them. This police action took place a day before Amritpal Singh’s religious procession ‘Khalsa Vahir’ was to start from Muktsar district. Heavy deployment of security forces has been made near Jallupur Kheda village of Amritsar, Amritpal Singh’s native village for the operation.
Some supporters of ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh shared some videos on social media claiming that policemen were chasing them. In one of the videos, Amritpal can also be seen sitting in a vehicle and one of his associates can be heard saying that the policemen are after ‘Bhai Sahab’ (Amritpal). Nine weapons including one .315 bore rifle, seven 12 bore rifles, one revolver and 373 cartridges have been recovered so far during the statewide operation, police said. Security has been tightened in Punjab with checking of vehicles at several places.
A police spokesperson said that an FIR has been registered against WPD elements for the attack on Ajnala police station on February 24. Last month, Amritpal and his supporters, brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala police station on the outskirts of Amritsar city. All of them were demanding the release of an associate of Amritpal. Six policemen, including a superintendent of police, were injured in the incident. Following the incident, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in the state came under severe criticism and was accused of bowing down to extremists.
ISI’s hand behind Amritpal Singh
Amritpal Singh, a truck driver turned Khalistan supporter, is being told the hand of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. Officials say that the ISI has hatched a conspiracy to send Amritpal back to Punjab with the help of foreign Sikh separatists with the aim of reviving militancy in Punjab. According to officials, 30-year-old Amritpal worked as a truck driver in Dubai for ten years. Thereafter ISI radicalized him with the help of Khalistan sympathizers based outside India to push Punjab back to the dark days of militancy. Amritpal was openly giving continuous statements regarding the creation of Khalistan by separating it from India.
During the attack on Ajnala police station, radical Amritpal had also threatened Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Amritpal had said that Shah’s condition would also be like that of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It may be known that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Chief Minister Beant Singh were killed by terrorists. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own guards while Beant Singh was killed by Dilawar Singh. Dilawar had acted as a human bomb.
The plan was made in the beginning of March itself
Since the beginning of March, after the Ajnala incident in February, the Punjab government, along with the central government, was planning to arrest Amritpal. In this series, on March 2, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and discussed with him the prevailing law and order situation in the state. Discussed with him the prevailing law and order situation in the state. According to sources, during this meeting of about 40 minutes, the Chief Minister informed the Home Minister about the use of drones for the supply of drugs and weapons from across the border. During this, it was decided that the central and state security agencies will work together to deal with all security related issues.
Preparation for curb started from December
In December 2022, a meeting of DGPs of all states was held under the leadership of Home Minister Amit Shah. In this, a presentation was given by Punjab’s DGP Gaurav Yadav. In this, apart from arms and drug smuggling, he had told in detail about Khalistan supporter Amritpal Singh.
17 February 2023: Lovepreet Singh alias Toofan, a close aide of Amritpal, was arrested for allegedly assaulting and abducting one Varinder Singh of Rupnagar. An FIR is also registered against Amritpal in the case.
23 February 2023 : Supporters of Amritpal, a pro-Khalistan leader of the Khalistani organization Waris Punjab De, attacked the Ajnala police station with guns and swords. Six policemen and some of Amritpal’s supporters were also injured in the violent clash. All of them had come to protest for the release of Lovepreet Singh Toofan, close to Amritpal.
24 February 2023: A day after the incident of attack on Ajnala police station, the local court ordered the release of Lovepreet Singh. Also asked the concerned SHO to investigate the matter and submit its report. He was released on the orders of the court.
25 February 2023: The Union Home Ministry prepared to intervene regarding Amritpal Singh, the head of Waris Punjab De Sanghatana, who is moving forward on the demand of Khalistan in Punjab. The IB made a detailed report of the developments that were going on in Punjab.
26 February 2023: Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that Khalistan supporters are getting money from Pakistan and other countries. The Chief Minister said that the Punjab Police is capable of dealing with the issue. Very few people are supporting it in Punjab.
02 March 2023: In the wake of increasing incidents of Khalistan supporters in Punjab, there were reports of some major step being taken to maintain law and order. Punjab Chief Minister met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence. On the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, 18 companies of CRPF and RAF were deployed in Punjab.
11 March 2023: Action started on Amritpal’s associates. After the Punjab Police, the police of the Jammu administration took major action. Arms licenses of two associates of Amritpal were cancelled.
March 13, 2023 : The 16-member sub-committee constituted in the matter of taking Shri Guru Granth Sahib to the spot during the attack on Ajnala police station submitted its report to the Jathedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib. Committee’s co-ordinator Karnail Singh Peer Muhammad gave this report to him in a sealed envelope.
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