‘Not a fugitive, but a rebel:’ Amritpal Singh says he will appear in public soon
Going live on YouTube, the Khalistan sympathiser reiterated his appeal to Akal Takht jathedar to call a Sarbat Khalsa, a biannual assembly of the Sikhs.
Almost two weeks since Amritpal Singh has been on the run, the Khalistan sympathiser on Thursday said in a video message that he will appear before the public soon.
“I am not a fugitive, but a rebel,” he said in his second video, going live on YouTube. “I am with my community and supporters. I am not going to run away from the country. I do not fear the government. Do whatever you want to do. I will soon appear before the world and will also be amongst the Sikh community.”
The 30-year-old Khalistan sympathiser has been absconding since March 18, when the Punjab Police began a crackdown against his organisation, Waris Punjab De. The crackdown started days after he and his supporters stormed a police station in Amritsar on February 23 following the arrest of one of the preacher’s aides for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping.
In his first video message, released on March 29, Singh had claimed that the government’s action against him is an attack on the Sikh community.
“This is my appeal to the Sikh community,” the Waris Punjab De leader said in his second message. “I am not addressing the government, I don’t want to. I didn’t put any conditions for surrendering. Baseless rumours were being spread that I laid down three conditions for surrendering such as that I shouldn’t be beaten up at the police station. Beat me up as much as you want to. I am not afraid of torture or imprisonment.”
The Waris Punjab De leader also appealed to the Akal Takht jathedar to call for a Sarbat Khalsa, a biannual deliberative assembly of the Sikhs, on the harvest festival of Baisakhi on April 14. Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, whose jathedar or chief is Giani Harpreet Singh.
“This is a test for him [Giani Harpreet Singh], whether he is sincere about the community or not,” Amritpal Singh said in his latest video message. “He is often accused of supporting the political interests of a family, this is a chance to free himself from it.”
Amritpal Singh’s statement hinted at the jathedar taking a soft approach towards Shiromani Akali Dal. The party, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, controls the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, which is the authority that appoints the jathedar of the Akal Takht.
Singh also urged the Akal Takht chief that instead of taking out small Khalsa Vaheers, or religious processions, he should start a procession from the Golden Temple in Amritsar and pass through various villages of Punjab to arrive at the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Bathinda district on Baisakhi for the Sarbat Khalsa.
“The need is to mobilise the community and stand together for the community,” he said. “We came from this earth and our blood will get absorbed in this earth.”
Meanwhile, the Punjab Police have stepped up security in and around Amritsar and Bathinda anticipating that Singh will surrender after entering any of the two Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple or Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, reported The Indian Express.