Top Sikh body issues ultimatum to Punjab police amid crackdown on pro-Khalistan elements

Shillong, March 28: The Bhagwant Mann administration and the central government have come under fire from the top Sikh body the Akal Takht for the Punjab police’s crackdown on radical leader Amritpal Singh. The Akal Takht questioned why action is taken against “those who desire Hindu Rashtra”.

Giani Harpreet Singh, the chief priest of Akal Takht, issued the state government a 24-hour deadline to free Sikh youths detained during the raid on the separatist preacher.

He was speaking to a group of Sikh organisations that included academics, attorneys, journalists, and social and religious leaders to discuss the situation in Punjab.

For the Sikhs, the Akal Takht is the seat of power, and its chief priest is their leading speaker.

Singh questioned the use of the strict National Security Act (NSA) against those detained for purportedly supporting Amritpal Singh and his call for Khalistan. “Those who call for Hindu Rashtra ought to be arrested as well. They ought to be registered under NSA” said Singh.

Chief Minister of Punjab Bhagwant Mann has instructed the state police to free anyone detained as a preventive measure if they are not later discovered to have engaged in any anti-national activities. But, he warned that anyone attempting to disturb the tranquilly would face harsh punishment.

Among the 353 people detained as a precautionary measure, the Punjab Police said that 197 of them had been freed.

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