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Punjab

Latest videos by 'fugitive' Amritpal creates flutter, raises speculations, he is in the 'safe custody'

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | March 31, 2023 03:26 AM

Is he a rebel against the state or the Sikh leadership ?
By SATINDER BAINS
CHANDIGARH: The two new videos released by self styled radical leader Amritpal Singh and the content  therein have clearly  indicated that he has motives and he is in the 'safe custody' of his handlers. The videos are conspicuous and mischivious too for causing a storm in the Punjab politics.

Is there any 'third agency', operating covertly to draw new political alignments in Punjab? The way Amritpal Singh slipped out of tight police cordon and remained out of reach despite nation wide operation to catch him, it can be assessed that he was given a safe passage to reach at a protected hideout. The operation launched by state and central agencies was never meant to arrest him but to create a hype of him.

Punjab Police top brass may or may not be fully aware of all inputs of planned operation but entire episode would have serious repercussions for Punjab. The involvement of center government in the operation and direct monitoring by the Union Home Ministry is mysterious, given the political interests of ruling BJP in Punjab.

As Amritpal Singh in his second video claimed he was fully safe and will appear before the world shortly, gives an indication of future happenings both at religious and political front. He has once again challenged the religious leadership of Sikhs and placed himself against the political eastablishment. Amritpal Singh may be part of bigger plan to make the Sikh institutions including SGPC, Akal Takht and the Shiromani Akali Dal(Badal) irrelevant and unstable. The question is who will benefit

His call to hold Sarbat Khalsa on Baisakhi seems a part of plot by vested interests to 'impose' Amritpal Singh as an self styled leader of Sikh community. His tone of his script was very clear and aimed to put a question mark on decisions and integrity of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh. He rejected the Akal Takht's decision of taking out 'Vaheer' (march) by Sikh bodies and calling Giani Harpreet Singh to prove his credentials of being independent of clout of Badal family.

SAD (Badal) has failed to take a stand in favour or against Amritpal Singh which caused further dent to its image. At one time SAD was seen demanding action against Amritpal Singh and blaming Bhagwant Mann government for inaction, then after police ation, the Akali leaders appeared standing behind Amritpal Singh. Now after call for Sarbat Khalsa, SAD is in doldrums to support or oppose the demand of Amritpal.

There is possibility that Amritpal would appear in public before or on the day of Baisakhi. His attempt to show him a victim of governemnt action and calling him a 'rebel' seems a ploy to generate sympathy for himself and mobilise his followers for a backup. He is not clear if he is rebel against the eastablishment or the traditonal Sikh leadership. Does he hint at leading an armed atruggle to achieve the goal of Khalistan?

The Police had already imposed National Security Act on him. In case of his arrest, he might be preparing ground for strong protests by radical elements in India and abroad for his release. At the time of police action against Amritpal, protests were held by Khalistan supporters mainly in Canada, USA, UK and Australia.

The first video by Amritpal Singh came a day after Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh held a meeting of Sikh organisations on March 27 and announced 24 hour ultimatum for release of Sikh youth arrested by police during operation against Amritpal Singh. In this video he called upon Akal Takht Jathedar to consider calling Sarbat Khalsa and in the very second video released on March 30, before Giani Harpreet Singh could react, Amritpal gave a call for Sarbat Khalsa and appealed his followers to make announcements in villages and asked Sikhs from all around the world to reach at Takht Damdama Sahib on Baisakhi, April 13. He looks a hope for him in the Sarbat Khalsa. 

It is the prerogative of Akal Takht Jathedar to call Sarbat Khalsa if Sikh community faces a crisis and it neeeds consensus of whole community to counter the situation. The Akal Takht Jathedar has not responded to call by Amritpal Singh and it is expected he would not take a call on this issue. It is feared that Amritpal may come in confrontation with the Akal Takht and if such a situation arises it would lead to radicalisation of Sikh youth.. 

This is also true that the institution of Akal Takht is facing credibility crisis due to political interference by Badal family. Amritpal in his video has also raised the issue of political interfence in the working of Akal Takht. Badal family is widely accused of misusing Sikh institutions to stay at helm of politics. Sikhs by and large do not trust Badal family after series of incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and blame them for the conspiracy. It is litmus test for Badals to hold their ground in an apparent political turmoil.

BJP which was an alliance partner of SAD (Badal) for ten years when sacrilege incidents happened in Punjab is now preparing to form its own government in Punjab in 2024. There are allegations that BJP was using all means to polarise Hindus and divide the Sikhs to achieve its goal. It is not without a reason that most of Sikh leaders from Congress and other parties were forced to join BJP. 

One school of thoughts belives that political eastablishment in India is supporting the Khalistan movement in foreign countries to keep the Sikh community under check. Amritpal is outspoken on Khalistan and picked his threads from the militant movement of 80's. His idea of armed struggle like in 80's is not only irrelvent in present times but unrealistic too.

This current situation is an opportunity of introspection for the Sikhs in India and abroad who believe that Amritpal Singh is a saviour of Sikh community. A section of Sikh community is standing at a cross road where they cant differentiate between the sacrifice of late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawala who martyred in the army attack and Deep Sidhu and Sidhu Moosewala- one died in an accident and other in a gang war.  Some belive Amritpal Singh would be another Sant Bhindrawala,  

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