Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee
Last Updated: December 28, 2022, 11:24 IST
Amritpal Singh, the current leader of ‘Waris Punjab De’, launched the Khalsa Waheer campaign from the Akal Takht Sahib in Amritsar in November 2022. The leader, who has fashioned himself as the next Bhindranwale, has openly supported the idea of Khalistan and related agenda like Khalsa sovereignty, Khalsa army/police/government.
Waris Punjab De (WPD) is an organisation launched by actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, who was killed in a road accident in February.
According to top intelligence sources, WPD is taking on the role of an extremist organisation on the ground and is a well-planned movement. But public opinion about it is divided.
The sources said Amritpal’s speeches could take the youth down a path of extremism, where they might face arrest or even be killed.
Here is all you need to know about the ‘Khalsa Waheer campaign’ launched by Waris Punjab De:
- In his addresses, speeches and interviews, Amritpal Singh has been vocal about the so-called injustice and atrocities meted out to the Sikh community in India, including the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. He has been successful in baptising youngsters primarily for the Khalistan cause and, so far, more than 3,000 youths have been inducted.
- As part of the Khalsa Waheer campaign, Amritpal has announced “weapon marches” asking participants to join in with an open display of arms like swords, firearms, spears among others.
- Families of slain Sikh militants are also being honoured in public during the campaign. Not only this, Amritpal has urged the Sikh community to kill anyone who disrespected the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy book of Sikhism.
- Amritpal has met representatives of Sikhligar Sikh from Madhya Pradesh and sought public donations for welfare of the community and further asked for a supply of country-made weapons for his followers.
- He has also declared to stage protests at Singhu border, on the lines of the farmer agitation, demanding the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in Indian jails.
- The activists of WPD have attracted strong criticism from local residents in places where they have targeted gurdwara infrastructure, such as seating apparatus, declaring it as being against the tenets of Sikhism. The activists have also destroyed cemeteries in gurdwaras.
Who is Amritpal Singh?
Intelligence agencies are probing Amritpal’s connection with the ISI since his return to Punjab after 10 years. His ‘dastarbandi’ had taken place amid slogans of ‘Khalistan zindabad’.
According to the agencies, the leader has taken over this role on behalf of the ISI as a long-term strategy to destabilise Punjab again. Top intelligence sources said he had gone to Georgia before coming to India from Dubai.
Recently, the ministry of home affairs asked the Punjab government to keep an eye on his activities as he has made frequent visits to Bhindranwale’s village, Rode, giving speeches about freedom and Khalistan.
The sources said the ISI was trying to fill up a vacuum in Sikh leadership with Amritpal Singh, who can take up the role of a political and religious leader.
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