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Prove you are boss: Amritpal tells Akal Takht chief in new audio clip

Radical preacher Amritpal Singh surfaced in an audio clip in which he debunked speculation that he is negotiating his surrender and nudged the Akal Takht again to summon a sarbat khalsa congregation

(File Photo) Khalistani leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh as police launch an operation to arrest Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, on Saturday.

Amritpal Singh

Press Trust of India Chandigarh

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Radical preacher Amritpal Singh on Thursday surfaced in an audio clip in which he debunked speculation that he is negotiating his surrender and nudged the Akal Takht again to summon a “sarbat khalsa” congregation.
 
A day earlier a video had appeared on social media with the pro-Khalistan preacher asking the jathedar (or chief), of the highest temporal body of Sikhs to summon a congregation of the faithful to discuss issues concerning the community.
"I have urged the jathedar to call the sarbat khalsa. Call the sarbat khalsa, and prove that you are the jathedar,” he said in the new audio clip.
 
Piling pressure on the Sikh body, he said, “If we are going to play politics even today, doing the same things we used to do earlier, then what's the point of being a jathedar in the future,” he said in Punjabi.
"We should understand that today is the time for the entire community to come together,'' he added, calling for “unity” among Sikh bodies.
 
In the video clip too he had tried to argue that the issue was not just his arrest, but about larger concerns of the Sikh community.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has informed the Akal Takht that almost all the people taken into preventive custody – 348 out of 360 – during the crackdown against Amritpal Singh and his ‘Waris Punjab De' outfit have now been released.
Jathedar Harpreet Singh had earlier issued an “ultimatum” to the state government to release the Sikh youths picked up during the crackdown that began on March 18.
 
There was no immediate comment by police on the authenticity of the nearly two-minute audio clip in which the pro-Khalistan preacher accuses the government of committing “oppression”.
 
"But I am not scared and I don't fear going to jail, or torture in police custody. Let them do whatever they want," he said.
He also referred to some media reports suggesting that he had put conditions for his surrender, including that he should not be subjected to torture. He has not spoken to anyone over offering arrest, and there have been no conditions put by him, the fugitive said.
 
On Thursday, a drone was deployed over the village in Hoshiarpur where some suspects abandoned their car two days back after a police chase. There was speculation that the preacher could have been in that vehicle.
 
Security also remained stepped up around Amritsar's Golden Temple, but officials claimed this was not linked to the hunt for Amritpal Singh. They took out another flag march in the area.
 
The preacher remains untraceable since March 18, when he gave the slip to a police dragnet in Jalandhar, switching cars and changing appearances.
 
The trigger for the crackdown was the storming of the Ajnala police station last month by him and his supporters – some of them brandishing firearms – to secure the release of an arrested man. Six police personnel were injured.
 
He and his associates have been booked for spreading disharmony, attempt to murder, attacking police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants.
 
The government has also invoked the stringent National Security Act against him. Some men, believed to be his key associates, have been booked under the same law and lodged at the Dibrugarh Central Jail in Assam. PTI SUN CHS ASH ASH
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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Topics : Punjab

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First Published: Mar 30 2023 | 9:46 PM IST

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