What Amritpal Singh’s rise spells for Punjab | In Focus podcast

Ramesh Inder Singh speaks to us about the rise of pro-Khalistan propagator Amritpal Singh and the current situation in Punjab.

Published - March 29, 2023 05:09 pm IST

The phenomenon of Amritpal Singh has taken Punjab by storm. In a daring act, his supporters ransacked a police station in Ajnala and freed some of his associates in February. From a businessman in Dubai till September last year, Amritpal has become Punjab’s leading practitioner of separatist politics, telling Frontline magazine in a recent interview that he does not recognize the Indian Constitution as it doesn’t see Sikhism as a separate religion.

He has inherited Waris Punjab De, an organisation intended to help young people follow the tenets of Sikhism. Currently, Amritpal is on the run after the Punjab police launched efforts to arrest him on March 18. Some recent reports say CCTV cameras showed him at a Delhi market while others said he had reached Nepal.

So, who is Amritpal Singh? How has he managed to capture the spotlight in a matter of months? Whom does he represent? Is he popular? Is Amritpal filling a political vacuum in Punjab?

Guest: Ramesh Inder Singh, former Chief Secretary of Punjab, who was Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar at the time of Operation Bluestar in 1984. He is the author of “Turmoil in Punjab”, a book that looks at the situation in Punjab both before and after Operation Bluestar.

Host: Amit Baruah, Senior Associate Editor, The Hindu.

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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