India: 100+ Detained, Internet Cut for 30M as Police Hunt Sikh Separatist
A manhunt for a radical Sikh separatist preacher in India entered its third day on Monday as authorities arrested hundreds of his supporters and shut down internet access for approximately 30M people in the state of Punjab....
- A manhunt for a radical Sikh separatist preacher in India entered its third day on Monday as authorities arrested hundreds of his supporters and shut down internet access for approximately 30M people in the state of Punjab.1
- Amritpal Singh and his supporters, armed with swords and firearms, raided a police station on the outskirts of Amritsar last month to free one of the 30-year-old preacher's jailed supporters. The supporter had been arrested for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping.2
- According to the Punjab police, five of Singh's supporters had been charged under India's stringent National Security Act. Several weapons and vehicles, including a Mercedes that Singh allegedly used to run away on Saturday, had also been recovered.3
- On Sunday, Sikh separatists waving Khalistan flags reportedly climbed the Indian High Commission in London and lowered India's national flag to oppose the manhunt, which led the Indian government to summon a senior British diplomat in New Delhi to protest what it called the breach of security.4
- Singh is a popular leader within the separatist Khalistan movement — outlawed and considered a deadly national security threat by the Indian government — that demands the creation of a sovereign Sikh nation for followers of the Sikh religion.5
- In February, Singh threatened India's home minister Amit Shah and called for violence on camera, saying, 'India can't suppress the idea of sovereignty' and that 'violence is the last stage when you suppress the feelings of the people.'6
Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2Dawn.com, 3BBC News, 4New York Times, 5CNN and 6Timesnow.
- Narrative A, as provided by The indian express. Pakistan-based Islamist groups and Kashmir-centric terrorist groups are behind Amritpal Singh, a Khalistani activist and currently India’s most wanted and notorious fugitive. It’s no secret that the Khalistan agenda has been primarily kept alive from foreign soil by Sikh hardliners attempting to revive the insurgency in Punjab — India’s only Sikh-majority state — with a massive financial push. The Indian government must come down heavily on all anti-national elements.
- Narrative B, as provided by The wire. Traditional political parties in Punjab have failed to solve long-standing socio-economic crises such as unemployment, drug addiction, and theocratic-political crises including releasing Sikh political prisoners. The erosion of faith within political parties, and not Amritpal Singh, has revived the demand for a larger religious and social transformation in Punjab. However, Amritpal’s radical posturing and the recent increase in activities of pro-Khalistani forces is a dangerous trend that may destabilize the state and the country again.
- Narrative C, as provided by Sikhpa. The passionate protests seen to be growing not only in India but also worldwide are just the beginning of Sikh solidarity. The current treatment of the Punjab area is nearly identical to events preceding the 1984 Sikh genocide. The longer governments worldwide continue to let India treat a minority community in this manner, the more fervent Sikh protests are likely to become.