Politics

India's Most Wanted Amritpal Singh Entered The Punjab Scene Through Clubhouse App

Swarajya Staff

Mar 21, 2023, 01:44 PM | Updated 01:44 PM IST

Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh.
Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh.

India’s most wanted fugitive Amritpal Singh of Waris Punjab De group entered the public discourse on the Punjab issue through social media app ClubHouse.

The voice-based app allows users to set up ‘audio rooms’ to talk, listen and counter-talk with other users. Such audio-rooms allow thousands of people at a time.

A report by The Tribune says that the audio-room in which Amritpal first registered his presence as a person interested in Sikh and Punjab matters was formed by late Deep Sidhu in 2021 during the farmers’ agitation on the Delhi-Haryana border. Amritpal was settled in Dubai at that time, where he worked as a taxi driver.

Sidhu was then an actor working in Punjabi films who was trying to take a leading role in the protests, which was mainly a show of Sikhs and some Hindus from the dominant land-owning Jat caste in Punjab and Haryana.

The Tribune report says that Amritpal was initially only a listener, but was soon made a speaker in the ClubHouse audio-room.

As per the report, Sidhu blocked Amritpal as the latter often spoke about the creation of Khalistan – a separate country for Sikhs carved from within the Indian territory, as demanded by Sikh separatists.

Amritpal was not a baptised Sikh at that time, and sported short hair and a trimmed beard.

Sidhu mysteriously died in February last year, merely a few months after forming ‘Waris Punjab De’ as a Sikh socio-political organisation.

It is the same organisation that Amritpal now heads. About the same time Sidhu formed this organisation, he was arrested in New Delhi for violence during Republic Day.

The Facebook account of the organisation was “hacked” soon after Sidhu’s death, and a post announcing appointment of Amritpal as the new head was made from the account.

After about six months of inactivity, Amritpal arrived physically on the Punjab scene with a group of supporters at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab and was baptised as a Sikh.

Four days later, he was formally anointed as the organisation’s chief in a ceremony held at late Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s ancestral village.

At least four of the ClubHouse discussions in the audio-room formed by Deep Sidhu can be accessed here and here. Some of these conversations had Amritpal as the main speaker.

Amritpal keeps mentioning the need to keep their religious identity above other protest-related matters as such Minimum Support Price. One his statements is, “Faslan da masla nahi, ae nasal da masla haiga” (this is not about crops, this is about the community).


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