Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh, before escaping a Punjab Police crackdown on his outfit and supporters, attended five events in 10 days, and in these, he tried to radicalise Sikhs, coaxing 800-1,000 individuals to remain prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, officials said.
The radical preacher’s brazen activities evinced his methodical efforts to undermine the fabric of society, they claimed and added that he during his speeches and sermons alleged that the government was leaving no stone unturned in its quest to disarm Sikhs by revoking their weapons licences.
Amritpal Singh, who took over as ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief after its founder actor-activist Deep Sindhu’s death last year, is on the run after police launched a massive crackdown on March 18 in the state and arrested several of his supporters.
It began weeks after the preacher and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar on February 23 to secure the release of an arrested associate. The episode raised fears over the possibility of the return of Khalistani militancy to Punjab that borders Pakistan.
The officials said the preacher allegedly implored youngsters to unify for securing “Khalsa rule” for the coming generations of Punjab, proclaiming that the division within the Sikh Panth made them “vulnerable to the enemy’s onslaught”.
The Ajnala incident had reignited fears of a resurgence of Khalistani militancy in the state, they said and pointed out that Amritpal Singh had ulterior motives to sully the peaceful ambience of Punjab, and this was exemplified by the abduction and assault on Barinder Singh.
Barinder Singh, in his complaint, had told police that Amritpal Singh’s associates had abducted him from Ajnala and took him to an unknown place where he was brutally thrashed.
In Februray, Dubai-return Amritpal Singh’s supporters stormed the police station to get Toofan Singh, the accused, released.
During the Ajnala incident, he openly defied authorities and did not refrain from injuring policemen in the process, according to officials.
Amritpal Singh had showed no qualms in engaging in sacrilege and vandalising gurdwaras in Kapurthala and Jalandhar, and stoking communal tension by delivering provocative speeches targeting other religions, they claimed.
He also brazenly encouraged violence and gun culture, exploited youth for his pernicious agenda, and described his private militia as the ‘Anandpur Khalsa Fauj’, the officials alleged.
Earlier, they had said the fugitive preacher had been targeting drug addicts and rogue ex-servicemen to help him build a gang that could be easily transformed into a terrorist outfit.
The officials emphasised that had action not been taken under the National Security Act (NSA), members of ‘Waris Punjab De’ would have gone scot-free. Amritpal Singh, on another occasion, allegedly threatened ‘Dera’ followers to eschew those who swindled their money, lied to them and bombed them, and instead love the Gurus who selflessly fought for their motherland and sacrificed their own children, they said.