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Editorial

Mystery shrouds sudden rise and escape of fugitive Amritpal Singh, said to have crossed over to Nepal

SATINDER BAINS | March 28, 2023 03:37 AM

CHANDIGARH: The mystrey shrouds the escape of Amritpal Singh president of Warris Punjab De organisation from Punjab when a full fledged operation by Punjab Police to arrest him was underway. Police forces surrounded his cavalcade on March 18 and there is no confirmed information about his whereabouts till date.

The reports of presence of Amritpal Singh in Ludhiana, Patiala and Shahbad in Kurukshetra district of Haryana were appearing in the newspapers and TV channels for the last many days. Even two women have been arrested for harbouring Amritpal Singh. Police has chased him but failed to catch with him amid reports that he has crossed over to Nepal.

Amritpal Singh, a fugitive is now one of the most wanted criminal who is charged under National Security Act despite serious sections of IPC. A FIR was registered against him and his accomlices on February 24 when he attacked the Ajnala Police station and confronted with the police. He caught the eye of Sikhs around the world when he preached for separate state for Sikhs and also started campaign for reforms in Sikh religion. He and his supporters forced entry into a Gurdawara in Jalandhar and burnt the chairs meant for old and handicapped devotees. This action was supported by many and majority of Sikhs opposed the aggressive way of reforms, mostly seen in the mid eighties when militancy was on its peak in Punjab.

On February 24 last when Amritpal led a procession for the release of one of his follower arrested in a criminal case, several police men were injured in the attack. Police had used restrain due to presence of Guru Granth Sahib with the violent mob led by Amritpal Singh. In the follow up interviews, Amritpal Singh had even threatened the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Police DGP and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of dire consequences of his follwers were harrassed.

It is understood that Punjab Police had lauched the operation against Amritpal Singh with complete understanding with the center government, it was rather shocking and surprising that Amritpal Singh alongwith his friend Papalpreet Singh had escaped from the net of Punjab Police and central security forces. He understood to have changed his attire in a Gurdawara Nangal Ambian in Moga district on the day he ran away leaving behind his cavalcade of high end cars. He was seen in shirt and pants adoring a red turban. He used to wear long gown to look alike Sikh saints.

The news are coming that he had crossed the International border to reach Nepal. The reports in the Nepali media have suggested that Amritpal is hiding in Nepal and he may escape to some other country. The India High Commission in Nepal has indeed wrote a letter to Nepal Government to stop Amritpal Singh from taking any flight and leaving the country.

Two pictures of Amritpal Singh were circulating in the media showing him and Papalpreet Singh taking selfie near some National Highway. The pictures show them in jackets and drinking energy drink. It is assumed that the piactures might be clicked somewhere in Uttrakhand bordering Nepal. How these pictures reached the media and police is anybody's guess.

The questions are ought to be asked about the escape of Amritpal Singh and his friend from Punjab and how they managed to ditch the immigration officials at international border. The dramatic escape of Amritpal Singh raises questions of some hidden hand helping him to escape. More than 300 supporters of Amritpal were arrested and eight of his close aides are detained under NSA and lodged in Dibrugarh jail in Assam on March 19 and 20. The search operation of Punjab Police is still continuing.

Several stories wre floating about Amritpal Singh while his family claims he was in police custody and being tortured, other claim is that he was helped by some secret agency to escape. Another theory say Amritpal Singh was planted by central agencies to create trouble for the Bhagwant Mann Government. His phenomenon rise in about six months time is also astonishing. Now the unknown sources have floated the theory that Amritpal Singh was goven a safe passage due to his links with the intelligence agency for which he might be operating in Punjab.

Amritpal came to India after the death of film actor Deep Sidhu head of an organisation Warris Punjab De after spending 10 years in Dubai was clean shaven and was in the transport business of his family. He was appointed head of the Warris Punjab De and saw an overnight polularity among the radical elements. It was the time post Sangrur Lok Sabha bye election held soon after the murder of Punjabi Singer Sidhu Moosewala. Khalsitan supporter Simranjit Singh Mann won the election riding on the popularity of Deep Sidhu and anger spilled after the killing of Sidhu Moosewala. Deep Sidhu who was also branded an alleged agent of center government supported Simranjit Singh Mann in the Sangrur poll.

Amritpal choose to be leader of radicals who were trying to create a nerrative against AAP government for being responsible for the murder of Sidhu moosewala. Sidhu Moosewwala was great admirer of late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhidnrwala who remained controversial for his speeches against discrimination with Sikhs in India and demand for separate state for Sikhs.

Amritpal was also outspoken about demand of Khalistan. He was of the opinion that an armed struggle is needed to achieve the goal. The Khalsitan supporters in Canada, USA and UK, Germany started comparing him with late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawala who died in operation blues star in 1984. Bhindrawala had also emerged as leader of radical Sikh masses in a short period. He was initially allegedly promoted by the Congress government at center to undermine the authority of traditional Sikh leadership but he hijacked the whole political scene leaving the traditional Sikh leaders in the cold.

Similar accusations are being made by some sections that BJP government at center was behind the sudden rise of Amritpal Singh to polarise the Hindu votes in border state. Amritpal however emerged to a level where he could afford to challenge the state which became a turning point.

The Amritpal Singh episode has raised the political pitch in Punjab and opposition political parties were confused to take any firm stand on it. It was more difficult situation for the SAD(Badal) facing wrath of radical Sikhs for allegations of sacrilete of Guru Granth Sahib. Aam Aadmi Party and BJP have taken one stand and justified action against Amritpal Singh. The Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress have been changing its stand as the situation changes. SAD (Badal) was not vocal to criticise the actions of Amritpal due to further isolation in the community. It is after the police operation that SAD (Badal) criticising AAP government for arrests of Sikh youth, supporters of Amritpal Singh.

But the vital isse remains where is Amritpal Singh ? Would he be ever arrested or he will get pass to reach foreign land and continue his incomplete mission. He is married to a girl from UK and his final destination may be UK where he may get political assylum.

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