Jalandhar, March 29
On the run since March 18 after the Punjab Police’s crackdown, pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh on Wednesday released a video statement — his first in 11 days — wherein he tries to woo the Sikh community and Akal Takht.
In the five-minute clip, the fugitive does not give any clue to his whereabouts or why he was evading arrest. “If the government’s intention had been only to arrest me, they could have come to my house and I would have given up…. But the way they deployed thousands of police personnel and laid a cordon, the Almighty came to our rescue,” he said.
Amritpal, against whom the stringent National Security Act has been invoked, is seen dressed in a traditional attire, sporting a black turban. His appearance is in contrast to the one in CCTV pictures released earlier that purportedly showed him donning trousers, jackets and sunglasses. In some, he had his hair open. Seemingly worn-out and sleepy and standing in front of a plain cemented wall, he tries to mobilise the community for a “larger religious cause”. He calls upon the Akal Takht Jathedar to lead a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (mass congregation) on Baisakhi.
While in the CCTV grabs that emerged over the last few days he appeared to be quite confident and in a way teased the security forces, the video showed him somewhat tense. He attacked the government for detaining the Sikh youth. “They have not spared even the women and the differently abled (probably referring to Manpreet Manna of Shahkot). My supporters have been sent to jail in Assam,” he said.
Trying to play the sympathy card, he said the issue was not about his arrest, but about the “attack on the community”.
348 detainees ‘released’
The authorities have reportedly ‘released’ 348 of the total 360 detainees. Akal Takht Jathedar’s PA said a government representative had called to inform them about it
He said they had been assured the remaining would be set free too
Jalandhar-Rural SSP shifted
Chandigarh: Days after Amritpal’s escape, the Punjab Government on Wednesday shifted six district police officers, including Jalandhar (Rural) SSP Swarandeep Singh, who has been posted as DCP (Investigation), Amritsar. The transfers had been made on administrative grounds ahead of Jalandhar LS bypoll. TNS
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