The Aam Aadmi Party-led Punjab government on Friday assured that the situation in Amritsar and adjoining areas was under control which saw intense protests by ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh’s supporters. The protesters, who blocked the Amritsar-Jalandhar national highway and also laid seige to the Ajnala police station in Amritsar, were demanding that the cases filed against Amritpal be withdrawn and Lovepreet Toofan, his close aid be released.
“People of Punjab should have faith in chief minister Bhagwant Mann to maintain law and order in the state,” said state minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, reported news agency ANI.
On Thursday, ex-Chief Minister of the state, Capt Amarinder Singh expressed concern over the dramatic episode and alleged that “this is not only a complete collapse of the law and order situation in Punjab, but it is also more serious than that.”
‘Waris Punjab De‘ chief Amritpal Singh along with his supporters on Thursday laid siege to the Ajnala police station in Amritsar, which led to a scuffle and injuries to several police personnel. He demanded the release of his close aide Lovepreet Toofan.
The Punjab cops have agreed to the demand, minutes after the pro-Khalistani leader served the police a one-hour ultimatum. “If they don’t cancel the case in 1 hour, the administration will be responsible for whatever happens next,” Amritpal Singh had said.
“Lovepreet Toofan is being released as the evidence they produced established that he was not present on the spot. We are submitting that to the court. The force deployed as a precautionary measure and the situation is under control,” informed Satinder Singh SSP Amritsar.
The court has issued release orders for Toofan. He will be released from Amritsar Jail on Friday.
Recently, the Punjab police registered an FIR against Amritpal as well as his associates on charges including rioting and abduction. The FIR was lodged based on a complaint filed by one Barinder Singh, a native of Salempur village in Chamkaur Sahib, who said that he was beaten up by Amritpal and his men.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Amritpal touched on the sensitive topic of Khalistan and said that it “shouldn’t be seen as evil and taboo”.
“Our aim for Khalistan shouldn’t be seen as evil & taboo. It should be seen from an intellectual point of view as to what could be its geopolitical benefits,” he said and added that “it is an ideology and ideology never dies. We are not asking for it from Delhi”.
As a step of precaution, additional police force was deployed outside the police station on Friday.
The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement. By establishing a sovereign state, it seeks to create a homeland for Sikhs. The proposed state would consist of land that currently forms the state of Punjab. The separatist movement gathered force in the 1980s.