Amritpal Singh’s speeches made a day before Ajnala violence main ground behind invoking NSA

After a month-long search, Amritpal Singh was arrested by Punjab Police on Sunday in Moga district and sent to Dibrugarh Central Jail in Assam.

Amritpal Singh
Sikh separatist leader and head of Waris Punjab De, or Punjab's Heirs, Amritpal Singh, canter in yellow turban, stands outside a house with his supporters in the village Jallupur Khera, near Amritsar, India, Saturday, Jan.7, 2023. (AP Photo/Prabhjot Gill)

The Punjab Police had registered two FIRs against Waris Punjab De head and radical preacher Amritpal Singh on February 22, a day before the Ajnala police station violence. The FIRs were kept secret and are not available on the police website yet, reports The Indian Express.

After a month-long search, the pro-Khalistan activist was arrested by Punjab Police on Sunday in Moga district and sent to Dibrugarh Central Jail in Assam.

After the FIRs were registered, Amritpal and his aides had stormed the Ajnala police station on February 23 demanding the release of his close aide and kidnapping accused Lovepreet Singh. These FIRs became the main ground behind the arrest of Amritpal and others under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).

The first FIR was registered at the Baggapurana police station for Amritpal’s speech at an event held to commemorate Waris Punjab De’s former chief and singer and actor Deep Sidhu on his death anniversary at the Buddh Singh Wala village on February 19.

Apart from Amritpal, the accused named in the FIR included Varinder Singh alias Fauzi, Kulwant Singh Raunke, Basant Singh Daulatpura, and other unknown persons.

The FIR read that in his speech, Amritpal had allegedly said, “No government in the world can stop Sikhs from achieving Khalistan, from achieving an independent Sikh state. We will fight, and our races will fight and continue to become martyrs. We will rule this land tomorrow if not today. It is an appeal to the youth that there is no other way except martyrdom which can make any work free. This slavery will not end by sacrificing my head alone, we will all have to sacrifice. If so, let’s die for our freedom.”

The FIR further stated, “In this way, Amritpal Singh is calling for a war against the Indian government to achieve Khalistan state and increasing enmity based on language, religion, and race, along with his fellows at village Budh Singh Wala and has committed the offence of inciting hostilities against the Government of India by exhibiting deadly weapons and making inflammatory speeches.”

He was booked under sections 121-A (attempt to excite disaffection towards Government of India), 143 (attending unlawful assembly), 153-A (promoting disharmony, enmity between different groups) 153-B (Offence in religious assembly), 505(2) (Publishing, circulating statement to promote enmity), and 188 (disobedience of duty magistrate) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The second FIR was registered at the police station Division B under Amritsar Police Commissionerate, was also for his speech on Deep Sidhu’s death anniversary.

On February 15, Amritpal Singh had talked to the media outside Harmandir Sahib. However, the FIR mentions the place as outside Jallianwala Bagh.

The FIR quotes Amritpal’s statement to the media, “It is obvious from the government’s attitude towards Sikhs, to keep the Sikhs as slaves and to make them realise that Sikhs are not equal citizens. When Sikhs fight for their rights, they are tagged as terrorists… Tell me, has the prime minister or the home minister of the country ever said they will snub Hindu nationals? It means that there is a difference between the Sikhs’ inspiration and the inspiration of Hindus. Sikhs can’t do it, [but] Hindus can have their own dream. I think that nothing can be snubbed. We have been walking on the path of sacrifice… It has been 500 years, many states have come to oppose us… they have conspired against us even now….”

The second FIR, which booked him under IPC sections 153-A and 505, said that the Amritpal, “in the name of religion, is dividing the nation and disturbing the situation. He has used language to incite hatred amongst various groups, based on religion. This may disturb our peace for which a case should be registered and investigated.”

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First published on: 24-04-2023 at 14:58 IST