Ajnala, Amritpal And AAP: The Sound Of Silence

Ajnala, Amritpal And AAP: The Sound Of Silence

by Rohit Pathania - Friday, February 24, 2023 03:10 PM IST
Ajnala, Amritpal And AAP: The Sound Of SilenceAAP leadership mute spectator.
  • The law and order situation in Punjab is rather grim.

    It wouldn't be a surprise if demands to remove the state government start rising now. 

More questions than answers seem to be coming up with each passing day, given how things are going downhill rather rapidly in Punjab.

The national media finally woke out of its slumber to 'discover' Amritpal Sandhu, who as the head of Waris Punjab De threatened to raise hell if his aide Toofan Singh "wasn't released in one hour". 

The supposedly heavy deployment of police at Ajnala turned out to be useless, and the police giving up on Toofan Singh seemed a meek surrender that would only end up emboldening the Khalistani terrorists. 

To be fair, the police personnel were caught between a rock and a hard place, given how the swell of hoodlums used a saroop of Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji as a shield, and sought to provoke the police to fire so that some damage could occur, leading to 'be-adbi' and poisoning of the already grim atmosphere in Punjab. 

What it showed however was ineptness on part of the police, willful or otherwise, to deal with the situation, which was rather disappointing given Punjab Police's past record of tackling terrorism earlier.

For those with memories of the horror days this almost seemed a flashback of the days when Jarnail Bhindranwale had threatened the system with dire consequences if Amrik Singh wasn't released.

It also reminded one of the threat of dire consequences if a bus wasn't released by one evening. 

Those of us who have been tracking Amritpal have been flagging this man and his activities for a while.

While his social media handles remain withheld in India, the action is rather sloppy, given how there's been little attempt to fight the narrative war at any level. 

Sadly, we have also seen certain sections of the mainstream media trying to gloss over the man's poisonous rhetoric and only trying to show Amritpal as some saint.

These journalists of a certain leaning sadly have done more harm than good, and will be remembered by posterity for hiding facts. 

This isn't the only time that we have seen absolute inaction.

From the Kali temple attack of Patiala to grenade attack on the police and remaining mute witness to the assault on Chandigarh Police personnel, the security apparatus has seemed unable to respond to such grave provocations.

For that matter, little has been done to crack down on gangsters who act as couriers of the Khalistani terrorists in Punjab.

The odd 'encounter' and face saver attempt of a raid on drug peddlers seem a case of too little, too late. 

Why Does AAP Continue To Be Silent On The Subject?

But what's extremely curious is the way there's been total silence by AAP and the two chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann on the subject.

This is even more disturbing, given how Mann holds the Home portfolio in Punjab, with the police reporting directly to him.

The studied silence all along by AAP has started to create murmurs on the real intentions of AAP and what they really stand for.

One is forced to ask whether the veneer of patriotism that Kejriwal and his party has been wrapping around itself is truly a cover for something more sinister. 

The links of AAP with Khalistani terror sympathisers and handlers have been well known and flagged in the past as well.

It has been no hidden secret that AAP raised significant funding from abroad and has tried to make deals with such elements in exchange for money and propaganda support to create an impact. 

Much more circumstantial evidence points to something fishy. While Raghav Chadha led the langars at farmer protest in Delhi in 2020 and 2021, the presence of Khalistani elements who eventually hijacked the protests was evident all along.

There was studied silence by this supra-Chief Minister of Punjab, the title he has been given to denote who really wields power in the state.

This raises questions — has there been a backroom deal, as Kumar Vishwas has alleged in the past, between Khalistani elements and top leadership of the AAP?

The threads also seem to go back to Amritpal Sandhu. For those who remember, Congress fanned Bhindranwale to gain control in the legislative assembly.

The similarities are uncanny in many ways.

Amritpal's continued communal rhetoric and attacks on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) benefit those elements who would want to strengthen their vote base in the state amongst a certain vote bank that is significant in number and can form a pole to rally around each time.

Curiously, the emergence of Amritpal from the diaspora has also led to speculation on who really is behind Amritpal. 

There have been theories for a while that both Deep Sidhu and now Amritpal are "BJP agents".

Given Bhindranwale's antecedents, it would be easy to make the claim, and many ideas exist.

The problem with them is that the BJP is an insignificant player in Punjab today, and would gain very little from such a nefarious step.

Especially given the experience of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's experiences of the previous era, this mistake would certainly not be repeated. 

The fact is also that most of the pro-Khalistani voices like Simranjeet Singh Mann or Ranjit Singh Gill have been rather critical of Amritpal.

Even the otherwise extremist voices in the Panth like Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and preachers Bhai Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale have either been silent or have lashed out on Sandhu's actions. 

The lack of the Panthic leadership rallying behind Amritpal has however not dented his popularity, and this lack of support is perhaps the only difference for now when it comes to understanding the difference with Bhindranwale. 

Neither has the Akali Dal (Badal) leadership been seen around.

This is kind of ironic, given how the Akali-controlled SGPC has been leading the Bandi Singh campaign for long, a strand of which has attacked the police force on the Chandigarh-Mohali border coincidentally after a speech by Amritpal Sandhu. 

What Is AAP Really Up To?

Instead of the focus on law and order, every attempt at ignoring it and shielding the wrongdoers seems to be the norm.

The government refuses to tell the Punjab and Haryana High Court who released information on Sidhu Moosewala's security to the press.

Meanwhile, many high profile murders continue to remain unsolved. 

Despite what's happened, the Chief Minister's wife got a massive security upgrade, leading to ridicule and jokes about law and order situation being good only for Mrs Mann in the state, and Mrs Mann getting the upgrade as a Valentine Day gift. 

The rather public spat with Governor Banwarilal Purohit, where questions raised on appointments were dismissed by Bhagwant Mann under the fig leaf of "people's will is supreme in a democracy” has started to look more and more like the repeated trope of “injustice from Delhi” that used to plague Congress and Akali regimes of the past.

Fact remains that the AAP government just doesn't seem interested.

Instead, two laughable claims came out very recently.

First, law and order has improved in the state; and second, investment and job creation are taking place in Punjab.

The second one is a rather depressing case, because instead of the Rs 40,000 crore investment and 2.5 lakh jobs that Mann has claimed via investment summit, Punjab's industrialists recently signed MoUs worth Rs 10,000 crore with the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Ludhiana based giants like Trident Group and Nahar Spinning Mills.

The Punjab government's investment summit has been literally reduced to a joke with the event in Ajnala, as Bhagwant Mann seems clueless about the law and order situation, a major determinant for any investment decision.

As it is, the state has been marred by the various morchas blockading roads all across Punjab, inconveniencing people beyond measure. 

The security implications on law and order have been a problem even along the border.

Instead of the promised crackdown on sand mining mafia, what is being witnessed in Punjab is indiscriminate loot.

The situation  crossed all limits in the border areas of Gurdaspur and Pathankot, where the Border Security Force (BSF) appealed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to step in lest bunkers cave in.

However, illegal sand mining continues unabated, with the government being accused of taking a cut from the sale proceeds. 

The law and order situation in Punjab is rather grim.

It wouldn't be a surprise if demands to remove the state government start rising now.

However, should the Central government step in like that?

Such a move could end up fanning the flames further.

It would be advisable to use constitutional provisions which do not involve dismissal of the state government, to intervene.

However, the bulk of the onus has to be taken up by the state government nonetheless.

Unless the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government in Punjab doesn't change course, the chances of return to normalcy any time soon are starting to get bleaker by the week. 

Rohit Pathania works in the space of renewable energy and environment. Other interests include politics and the economy.
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