With the help of overseas Sikh separatists, Pakistan’s external spy agency ISI has been the brain behind pushing Amritpal Singh back to India with an aim to revive terrorism in Punjab, according to officials.
Singh, aged around 30, was a truck driver in Dubai before the ISI, with the help of Khalistan supporters based outside India, radicalised him so that he could plunge Punjab again into the dark days of terrorism, they said.
Threatening Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Bagwant Singh Mann, the radical Sikh preacher had been openly making statements about declaring secession from India and forming Khalistan. He spoke about former prime minister Indira Gandhi and chief minister Beant Singh who were assassinated by terrorists.
While Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her own guards, Beant Singh was killed by Dilawar Singh, who acted as a human bomb. The radical preacher claimed that many Dilawars were ready in the current scenario of Punjab.
Be it his rally at Tarn Taran on this year’s Republic Day or his media interviews, he had openly supported separatism and the formation of Khalistan.
He incited the Sikh youths to resort to armed rebellion against the democratically elected governments in order to oppose the supposedly discriminatory treatment being mete to achieve the ‘ultimate goal’ of the formation of ‘Khalistan’, the officials said.
During a function at Rode in Moga district, Singh had said that governments run by non-Sikh have no right to rule over the people of Punjab and that the people of Punjab must be ruled over only by Sikhs.
He has been styling himself on the lines of terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was killed during Operation Blue Star in 1984, by copying his attire, mannerisms, carrying an arrow, keeping a battery of armed bodyguards and taking the shield of religion.
Singh, who is at present on the run, is also alleged to have links with Lakhbir Singh Rode, head of the International Sikh Youth Federation who is sought for trial in India and wanted in cases of Arms Smuggling (including RDX explosive), conspiracy to attack government leaders in New Delhi and spreading hatred in Punjab.
Tracking his movements, the officials said that Singh, during his stay in Dubai, was in close touch with Rode’s brother Jaswant.
Having made his comeback to Punjab at the behest of ISI, Singh took the help of Amrit Sanchar to set up his organisation. Later he launched a campaign called ‘Khalsa Waheer’ and strengthened his organisation by going to the villages, they said.
He stirred up the issues of Punjab and started inciting the Sikhs against the government by invoking religion.
“The lower strata of society and aimless youth became an easy target of Singh and he started exploiting the sentiments in the name of religion,” a source said.
In the name of organising Amritpan Ceremonies to baptise Sikh youth and connect them with religion, his attempt was to make an army of disenchanted youth who were ready to take on the state, officials alleged.
Not considering the sanctity of pious places like Gurdwara, his so-called army vandalised two Gurdwaras for keeping some furniture for the elderly and disabled people to sit, they said.
According to the officials, his main aim was to push Punjab towards dark decades of militancy which have been overcome by great difficulty and a lot of sacrifices.
The officials claimed that the organisation headed by Singh was getting funds from Pakistan.
The radical Sikh preacher had taken over the control of accounts of Waris Punjab De with the help of his uncle Harjit Singh, thus making it a family-run organisation.
They said the so-called preacher had been using Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji during his February agitation for his personal interests and was considered as a kind of blasphemy.
This act of Singh was condemned by the entire Sikh community and after the incident, Shri Akal Takht Sahib formed a committee and ordered an investigation into the matter.
The officials alleged that Singh went to Jathedar Akal Takht and threatened him to remain silent.
Singh had said in a statement that the Ajnala incident is “not violence” and also threatened to unleash “real violence” in the future.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)