Indian police arrest alleged Sikh separatist leader, ending vast manhunt


Police in India say they’ve arrested alleged Sikh separatist chief Amritpal Singh, bringing to an finish a large months-long manhunt.

The information was introduced in a tweet on Punjab Police India’s official Twitter account.

Singh was arrested in Moga, Punjab, within the northwest of India, however shall be taken to a high-security jail in Assam in India’s far east, in keeping with CNN’s Indian affiliate Information 18.

Singh is a number one ideologue inside the Khalistan motion, an outlawed separatist marketing campaign that seeks to determine a sovereign state for followers of India’s minority Sikh faith.

Police have been trying to find Singh since March 18, when he was accused of tried homicide, obstruction of legislation enforcement, and creating “disharmony” in society.

The manhunt has revived requires an impartial Sikh homeland in India’s Punjab state, stoked fears of violence, and revived painful reminiscences of a bloody insurgency that killed 1000’s.

In March, whereas police looked for Singh, Indian authorities blocked web entry for about 27 million folks within the state of Punjab, one of many nation’s most in depth blackouts lately.

The controversial self-styled preacher was comparatively unknown till the dying of actor and activist Deep Sidhu final 12 months.

Sidhu backed the nation’s year-long farmer’s motion and based Waris Punjab De – a gaggle established to guard Sikh rights.

Waris Punjab De mobilized farmers and activists – lots of whom have been Sikh – in opposition to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s try and modernize the nation’s agricultural sector.

In a uncommon retreat, Modi repealed the legal guidelines in November 2021. However even after the revocation, Waris Punjab De continued its marketing campaign to guard the Sikh faith and Punjab’s tradition.

Sidhu was killed in a automotive crash in February 2022 and Amritpal Singh took over the reins, main marches and giving impassioned – usually provocative – speeches, constructing a big following and gaining reputation.

His feedback about social points and defending spiritual rights of Sikhs in opposition to what he has described as Hindu nationalist parts led by Modi have struck a chord amongst many Sikhs within the state.

Singh has likened himself to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a number one determine of the Khalistan motion who was killed by the Indian military in 1984 after they stormed Amritsar’s Golden Temple – Sikhism’s holiest shrine – in an operation ordered by former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

That operation induced enormous anger inside the Sikh neighborhood and Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards within the aftermath.

Earlier this 12 months Amritpal Singh invoked Bhindranwale’s rhetoric by saying residence Minister Amit Shah may meet the identical destiny as Gandhi after Shah spoke in opposition to Khalistan.

The Sikh faith was based within the Punjab within the fifteenth Century by Guru Nanak and has about 25 million followers worldwide.

Sikhs are a minority group in India, comprising of lower than 2% of the nation’s 1.3 billion folks, however they type a majority in Punjab.

The origins of the fashionable Khalistan motion hint again to across the time of India’s independence from Britain in 1947, when some Sikhs demanded {that a} nation be carved within the state of Punjab for followers of the religion.

Correction: Over time, violent clashes have erupted between followers of the motion and the Indian authorities, claiming many lives.

An earlier model of this story described Waris De Punjab as an outlawed separatist motion. It’s the Khalistan motion that’s outlawed.

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