This past Saturday, the New Delhi Police Department began a massive manhunt in an effort to apprehend Amritpal Singh, the leader of the separatist group Waris Punjab De.
A few of Amritpal’s associates had been detained at Mehatpur earlier in the day, but the self-proclaimed Sikh preacher and his companions had escaped in Amritpal’s vehicle. The chase was streamed live from his vehicle.
Internet services have been suspended across the state till noon on Sunday, said a senior official of the state’s home affairs department.
The 30-year-old shot into prominence in the past 6-7 months as a separatist leader, Khalistani sympathiser and radical preacher.
The following is a complete description of Amritpal Singh:
- Jallupur Khera, a village in Amritsar, is where he entered the world in 1993. Following his graduation from high school in 2012, Amritpal moved to Dubai to join his uncle’s transportation business.
- Six months ago, he was named the leader of Waris Punjab De, an organisation founded by actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, and suddenly he was on the radar of politicians and police in Punjab.
- Amritpal and his followers believe the’state’ was responsible for the death of Sidhu, who was involved in a traffic accident in February 2022. Though they never met in person, Amritpal claims to have been profoundly impacted by Sidhu through their online exchanges.
- On Republic Day 2021, when farmers were protesting, Amritpal sided with Deep Sidhu when others vilified him for his participation in the demonstrations at the Red Fort.
- Sidhu’s first death anniversary was last week, and Amritpal commemorated the occasion by revealing that he had stopped cutting his hair in November 2021 at the actor’s recommendation.
- In order to become a “Amritdhari Sikh,” Amritpal underwent a religious initiation ceremony on September 25 of last year at Anandpur Sahib.
- Amritpal’s ‘dastar bandi’ (turban-tying ceremony to indicate the taking on of a responsibility) took place on September 29 in Rode village, the birthplace of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whose name is synonymous with the Punjab militancy.
- Amritpal’s transformation from a clean-shaven transporter in Dubai to a separatist Sikh leader with a flowing beard has been swift. He dresses like Bhindranwale and some are already calling him Bhindranwale 2.0.
- In a recent address, he stated he was questioned by the ‘agencies’ for quite some time when he landed at Amritsar airport. According to him, asking a young Sikh male if he plans to return to his homeland is a form of ‘ghulami’ (slavery).
- On Facebook, he has been a staunch advocate for the Khalistan cause for some time. Since advocating for a Hindu Rashtra is not punished, he questioned why it was wrong for a Sikh to demand Khalistan.
- Amritpal told a Punjabi news channel that the 2015 events of the Bargari sacrilege and the Behbal Kalan police firing had inspired him to become politically active on behalf of the Sikh community.
- The political organisation of the Sikhs, Shiromani Akali Dal, is responsible for both instances. In the legislative election from 2016, the party was completely wiped out. Amritpal may be looking to fill an empty seat at the power table.
- Bhindranwale’s ascension in the 1970s was also fostered by similar conditions. Amritpal emulates Bhindranwale’s style of dress and demeanour. One way to do this is to dress like Bhindranwale, who wore a turban and long robe.
- Police reports reveal that Amritpal Singh is married to non-resident Indian (NRI) Kirandeep Kaur, who currently resides in the United Kingdom. Out of the three charges filed against Amritpal Singh, two include alleged hate speech and one involves a kidnapping.