Indian police on Sunday arrested a separatist chief who has revived requires an unbiased Sikh place of birth and the secession of India’s northern Punjab state, which has a historical past of violent insurgency.
Amritpal Singh were at the run since final month after taking pictures nationwide consideration in February, when masses of his supporters stormed a police station in Ajnala, a the town in Punjab state, with picket batons, swords and weapons to call for the discharge of a jailed aide.
Punjab state police tweeted Sunday that Singh was once arrested in Moga, a the town within the state.
A Sikh non secular chief, Jasbir Singh Rodde, mentioned Singh surrendered to police after providing morning prayers at a Sikh shrine in Moga. Police then arrested him and took him away, he mentioned.
Bloody insurgency in Eighties
Police officer Sukhchain Singh Gill mentioned police had surrounded the native village on intelligence that Singh was once within the shrine. “Relentless force constructed by way of the police during the last 35 days left Singh and not using a selection,” Gill instructed journalists.
He mentioned the police did not input the shrine, implying that Singh was once taken into custody after he left. The officer declined to verify that Singh surrendered to police as claimed by way of his supporters. The officer mentioned Singh was once flown to Dibrugarh in India’s northeast the place he’ll be detained till he is delivered to courtroom to stand fees.
Punjab suffered a bloody insurgency within the Eighties that ended in the killing of India’s then-prime minister Indira Gandhi by way of her Sikh bodyguards at her reliable place of abode in New Delhi. Her killing brought about bloody rioting by way of her Hindu supporters towards Sikhs in northern India.
Sikhs are a spiritual minority in India and say they’re discriminated towards by way of the bulk Hindus. Greater than 3,000 folks had been killed by way of extremists all through the Eighties insurgency within the wealthy farming state. The insurgency was once overwhelmed by way of Indian forces by way of 1990.
Punjab borders India-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan of supporting, coaching and arming insurgents, a fee Islamabad denies.
Police declared Singh, a 30-year-old preacher, a fugitive and accused him and his aides of making discord within the state. Police accused them of spreading disharmony amongst folks, tried homicide, attacking police group of workers and obstructing public servants’ lawful discharge of accountability.
Nearly 100 supporters arrested
Government have deployed 1000’s of paramilitary infantrymen within the state and arrested just about 100 of his supporters. Singh’s spouse was once averted from leaving India final week.
Little or no was once recognized about Singh till he arrived in Punjab state in 2022 and started main marches calling for the security of rights for Sikhs, who account for approximately 1.7 consistent with cent of India’s inhabitants.
Singh claims to attract inspiration from Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Sikh militant chief accused by way of the Indian govt of main an armed insurgency for Khalistan within the Eighties. Bhindranwale and his supporters had been killed in 1984 when the Indian military stormed the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine within the Sikh faith.
Singh has styled himself after Bhindranwale, with a protracted, flowing beard. He additionally clothes like Bhindranwale.
Singh additionally heads Waris Punjab De, or Punjab’s Heirs, a company that was once a part of an enormous marketing campaign to mobilize farmers towards arguable agriculture reforms being driven by way of High Minister Narendra Modi’s govt. The law brought about a yr of protests that started in 2020, as farmers — maximum of them Sikhs from Punjab state — camped at the outskirts of New Delhi via a harsh wintry weather and devastating coronavirus surge. The protests ended after Modi’s govt withdrew the law in November 2021.
Waris Punjab De was once based by way of Deep Sidhu, an Indian actor who died in 2022 in a site visitors twist of fate.
Singh’s speeches have turn out to be increasingly more standard amongst supporters of the Khalistan motion, which is banned in India. Officers see it and affiliated teams as a countrywide safety risk. Although the motion has waned over time, it nonetheless has some make stronger in Punjab and past — together with in nations like Canada, the USA and the UK, that are house to a large Sikh diaspora.
Final month, supporters of the motion pulled down the Indian flag on the nation’s top fee in London and smashed the development’s home windows in a display of anger towards the transfer to arrest Singh. India’s International Ministry denounced the incident and summoned the U.Ok.’s deputy top commissioner in New Delhi to protest what it referred to as the breach of safety on the embassy in London. The supporters of the Khalistan motion additionally vandalized the Indian Consulate in San Francisco in the USA.