The Punjab Police’s recent plan to apprehend Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh followed a meeting between Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Home Minister Amit Shah on March 2. According to anonymous sources, the two politicians discussed the matter during their meeting. Amritpal Singh, who had been the focal point of a large protest against the arrest of one of his key aides last month, is now on the run from the Punjab Police. The police had reportedly followed him while he was traveling in a convoy to Jalandhar.
Amritpal Singh is known to be accompanied by armed guards, and his supporters have dubbed him “Bhindranwale 2.0,” referencing the Khalistani separatist and terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Sources suggest that the police are currently in contact with his family, attempting to persuade him to surrender and avoid any potential law and order issues.
Before setting out to locate Amritpal Singh, the central government sent additional forces to Punjab. The plan was to arrest him after the meetings of the G20 summit concluded, which happened on March 17. The day after, there was a Lok Sabha by-election in Jalandhar, the city Amritpal Singh was reportedly heading to. The election was held following the death of Congress MP Santokh Chaudhary.
On March 2, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted that he had met with Home Minister Amit Shah, and both agreed to work together on issues of law and order. Amritpal Singh’s case highlights a persistent problem in Punjab, where Khalistani leaders like him, supported by a large base of followers, make it challenging for law enforcement officials to carry out their duties.
Amritpal Singh heads “Waris Punjab De,” a radical organization founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a road accident in February last year. He has identified himself as a follower of Bhindranwale, and his controversial speeches in recent months have only added to his notoriety. He is married to Kirandeep Kaur, a UK-based non-resident Indian.
Overall, the situation involving Amritpal Singh and the Punjab Police underscores the challenges that law enforcement authorities face in the region. The support for Khalistani separatism remains a significant issue in Punjab, and the actions of leaders like Amritpal Singh only complicate matters further.