NEW DELHI — Indian police have launched a seek for a separatist chief who has revived requires an impartial Sikh homeland, stirring fears of violence in northwestern Punjab state the place there is a historical past of bloody insurgency.
Police have accused Amritpal Singh, a 30-year-old preacher, and his aides of making discord within the state, which continues to be haunted by the recollections of an armed insurgency within the Eighties for an impartial Sikh state referred to as Khalistan. The insurgency had prompted a controversial navy operation by the Indian authorities that killed hundreds of individuals, in accordance with official estimates.
Authorities have deployed hundreds of paramilitary troopers to the state and suspended cell web companies in some areas to stop unrest, Sukhchain Singh Gill, the inspector common of police for Punjab, stated Wednesday. He stated police have to this point arrested 154 supporters of Singh and seized 10 weapons and a few rounds of ammunition.
The hunt for Singh was launched on Saturday and he has been on the run since.
Singh, who has stated he helps the Khalistan motion, captured nationwide headlines in February after a whole lot of his supporters stormed a police station in Punjab with swords and weapons to demand the discharge of a jailed aide.
Little or no is understood about Singh, who for years drove a truck in Dubai within the United Arab Emirates. He emerged in 2022 in Punjab and started main marches calling for shielding rights of Sikhs who account for about 1.7% of India’s inhabitants.
His speeches have develop into more and more common amongst supporters of the Khalistan motion, which is banned in India. Officers see it and affiliated teams as a nationwide safety risk. Despite the fact that the motion has waned through the years, it nonetheless has some help in Punjab and past — together with in nations like Canada and the UK, that are residence to a large Sikh diaspora.
On Sunday, supporters of “Khalistan” motion pulled down the Indian flag on the nation’s excessive fee in London and smashed the constructing’s window in a present of anger in opposition to the transfer to arrest Singh. India’s overseas ministry denounced the incident and summoned the U.Ok.’s deputy excessive commissioner in New Delhi to protest what it referred to as the breach of safety on the embassy in London.
On Wednesday, police eliminated short-term safety barricades outdoors the British Excessive Fee in New Delhi, information company Press Belief of India reported. There was no fast remark from the police or the federal government whether or not it was in retaliation to the incident in London.
The supporters of the Khalistan motion additionally vandalized the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Monday.
Singh claims to attract inspiration from Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Sikh militant chief accused by the Indian authorities of main an armed insurgency for Khalistan. Bhindranwale and his supporters had been killed in 1984 when the Indian military stormed the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine within the Sikh faith.
Singh additionally heads Waris Punjab De, or Punjab’s Heirs, a company that was a part of an enormous marketing campaign to mobilize farmers in opposition to the federal government’s controversial agriculture reforms beneath Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The laws triggered a 12 months of protests that started in 2020, as farmers — most of them Sikhs from Punjab state — camped on the outskirts of New Delhi by means of a harsh winter and devastating coronavirus surge. The protests ended after Modi authorities withdrew the laws in November 2021.
Waris Punjab De was based by Deep Sidhu, an Indian actor who died in 2022 in a site visitors accident.