Release Amritpal Singh’s supporters in 24 hours or face stir: Akal Takht to Punjab govt

Akal Takht gives ultimatum to govt

  • Why similar action is not taken against “those who demand Hindu Rashtra?
  • Punjab Police has said it has released 197 persons out of the 353 taken into preventive custody
  • Will take up the matter to international forums after Baisakhi: Top Sikh religious body

Top Sikh religious body the Akal Takht has has given the Punjab government a 24-hour ultimatum to release the youths arrested as part of the crackdown on separatist preacher Amritpal Singh

The head of the Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh, issued a statement to the state and central governments, asking why similar action was not taken against those demanding Hindu Rashtra.

Singh was addressing a gathering of Sikh organisations comprising intellectuals, lawyers, journalists, religious and social leaders to discuss the situation in Punjab.

In a disturbing note, the head of the religious body hinted at taking up the matter to international forums. He said he would take up this matter across the country and the world after Baisakhi. “We will tell them what is being done to us,” he said.

Singh also targeted news channels for trying to defame Sikhs by setting anti-Sikh discourse in communication platforms. He alleged that disturbing “narrative” is being set through probe agencies and news channels and said, “The hate propaganda done by news channels. We must book the news channels. Are we terrorists?”

The Akal Takht is the highest seat of authority for the Sikhs and its Jathedar their top spokesperson.

Singh also questioned slapping of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against those arrested for allegedly supporting Singh and his demand for Khalistan when lakhs of people publicly demand for a Hindu rashtra. He said: “There are lakhs who demand Hindu rashtra. Those who are calling for Hindu rashtra should also be booked. They should also be booked under NSA.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mann has said he has asked the state police to release those taken into preventive custody if they were not found involved in any anti-national activity. He, however, added that strict action will be taken against anyone who tries to disturb peace.

The Punjab Police have arrested 353 people on suspicion of being associated with Singh, who has been calling for a separate nation for Sikhs, over the last 10 days.

He has, however, cautioned against any violent protest. He said: “We must not get aggressive but must answer them diplomatically.” He said they will approach the high court for the release of those in police custody.

Earlier, the Akal Takht asked Amritpal Singh to cooperate with the authorities and surrender. He also questioned the competence of the police for not being able to catch Singh.

As per media reports, the fugitive has fled to Nepal. The Indian government urged authorities in the country to arrest Singh and not let him escape. Following this, the Nepal government has also put Singh on its surveillance list because he allegedly has multiple passports.



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