Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh was arrested on Saturday by Punjab police after a dramatic chase that led to the detaining of 10 of his close aides. Internet services were also suspended across the state after police launched the crackdown against the Sikh preacher, who has been at the centre of protests in Punjab against the arrest of his key associate Lovepreet Singh alias Toofan.
Here’s what we know about Amritpal Singh:
1. Dubbed as ‘Bhindranwale 2.0’, Amritpal Singh follows the teachings and dressing style of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who supported the demand for Khalistan and was killed in 1984 during Operation Bluestar.
2. Amritpal was earlier working in his family-owned transport business in Dubai and returned to India in 2022. He assumed charge as chief of ‘Waris Punjab De’, a radical organisation founded by the late actor Deep Sidhu ‘to protect the rights of Punjab and raise social issues’.
Also read: Amritpal Singh, the new face of fundamentalist fringe
3. Amritpal recently got married to UK-based non-resident Indian Kirandeep Kaur at a gurdwara in Nakodar.
4. Supporters armed with swords and arms are always seen escorting the separatist leader, who wears his turban, traditional robes and other Sikh articles imitating Bhindranwale’s style.
5. Amritpal, who hails from Jallu-Pur Khaira village in Amritsar district, last month remarked that Home Minister Amit Shah would face a similar fate as that of former prime minister Indira Gandhi if atrocities against Sikhs are not controlled.
6. His speeches are heavily led by an anti-migrant stand with a clear message that ‘Punjab is for Punjabis’. The radical preacher also tries to connect to the youth by talking about the state’s drug problem and other social evils.