With no major breakthrough in the ongoing probe into Sunday’s attack on a Nairankri sect congregation at Amritsar’s Adliwala village, the Punjab Police are now focusing on Sikh activists spread across Majha. Police detained or summoned several young Sikh activists, who back the demand for a separate Sikh state and take part in peaceful public activities for the same.
“I don’t have the exact numbers, but we have detained or summoned around 50 people for interrogation,” said Parampal Singh, SSP, Amritsar Rural.
Sikh bodies accused the police of not following set procedures. “There are set procedures if the police wants to summon or interrogate anyone for any crime. But police is creating terror by not adopting the legal method and rushing to homes of Sikh youths with large police force and making them criminals in the perception of the society,” alleged Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh.
In a Facebook post, he added: “Police raids on. Witch hunting started. Police have raided houses of Sikh Youth Punjab president Paramjit Singh Mand and Dal khalsa member from Amritsar Gurjant Singh. Mand was not present in the house whereas police have taken Gurjant into custody.”
Kanwarpal alleged that the raids were conducted and two Sikh activists associated with Sikh Youth of Punjab were detained by Punjab Police.
In response to his post, two more Sikh activists claimed that police had raided their houses.
“Police had come to pick me. I was not in good health. So, I have been called at police station at 11 am,” said Paramjit Singh Akali, a Sikh activist.
Ranjit Singh, associated with a faction of the Sikh Student Federation, said, “Three police vehicles came to my house today morning. They also went to homes of other Sikh activists associated with the federation. I have been called to the police station at around 11 am.”
Many such posts appeared on Facebook about Sikh activists allegedly detained or summoned by police from all over Majha. Most of these Sikh activists have been summoned or detained by the police team of the concerned police station or team of the Crime Investigation Agency. Activists from Malwa were also reportedly detained by the police.
Earlier, police had also detained three members of Satikar Committee, active in Amritsar, on Sunday and Monday.
“It is not the first time. Police is used to detaining Sikh youths for anything. Police had detained many Sikh youths in 2017 after the Maur blast too. But what came out later was that Dera Sacha Sauda followers were involved in it. Police also made similar arrests earlier this year,” said Kanwarpal.
Meanwhile, Satikar Committee members gathered outside the IGP office and the outfit’s chief Tirlochan Singh also met IGP Parmar for release of Sikh activists.
Commenting on the ongoing probe, IGP SPS Parmar said, “We have been checking motorcycles. We have been searching for any dumped bike. The interrogation of such people is underway who are suspected to be involved in crime anyway. There are things we can’t share with media in the middle of the investigation.”
Asked if the modus operandi of those behind the Sunday blast had links to the targeted killings module busted by police in the past, he said, “We cannot comment on it until we arrest the accused. Right now, we don’t know with whom the accused may be linked. It is different. This is not a targeted killing.”
“Modus operandi has changed from targeted killing to mass killing. Pistol was used in targeted killing to target a single man, but here, a grenade was used to cause multiple casualties. So it is different. As stated by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, we see it as a act of terrorism,”said Parmar.
On allegations by Shiromani Akali Dal Badal linking Bargari Morcha leadership with targeted killings, Parmar said, “I don’t go by statements in the newspapers. I go by proof.”