Pro-Khalistan supporter and radical preacher Amritpal Singh, has allegedly close links with drug peddlers and Pakistan’s ISI to ensure he achieves his goal to establish a separate country for the Sikhs.
Officials told the media that while drug lords were allegedly giving financial help to the pro-Khalistan preacher, including giving him a high-end Mercedes SUV, the ISI was aiding him with arms, ammunition and other logistics. Amritpal Singh is on the run following a massive crackdown on his outfit Waris Punjab De.
At the time when police was chasing Singh, he was travelling in a Mercedes SUV, allegedly gifted by Ravel Singh, who is accused of peddling drugs, they said. This is the same SUV from whose sunroof he used to wave people and his supporters.
On Saturday, when police was trying to apprehend the radical preacher, he had abandoned the SUV to evade the police and rode a bike and fled the scene. The SUV has since been seized by the Punjab Police.
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De-addiction centres as cover
Singh tried to project himself as a social reformer and was running de-addiction centres with the objective of setting up a private militia with those who come to his fold, they said.
A private militia was built by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the early 1980s, during the peak of Punjab terrorism.
The de-addiction centres were allegedly also used to stockpile illegal weapons, they said.
Singh and his trusted lieutenants tried to inculcate a radical, violent way of thinking among the inmates at the de-addiction centres. These centres had no doctors but low quality, cheaper antidotes of drugs, making the victims continue to depend on narcotics, they said.
If the inmates failed to follow his diktats, they were beaten into submission, they said. Singh has been successful in getting people to do what he wanted under the guise of religion and this helped ISI carry out its design in Punjab, they said.
He also has links with the chief of International Sikh Youth Federation Lakhbir Singh Rode, who is wanted for trial in India and in cases of arms and explosive smuggling, including RDX, conspiracy to attack government leaders in New Delhi and spreading hatred in Punjab.