Manhunt for Amritpal Singh: BJP chief Sunil Jakhar calls Punjab govt’s crackdown throughout G20 conferences ‘ill-timed’, ‘botched’

BJP nationwide government member Sunil Jakhar Sunday termed the Punjab authorities’s crackdown on Waris Punjab De throughout G20 conferences in Amritsar as “belated, ill-timed, unplanned, unsuccessful and botched” and stated it “ended up doing what the ISI had not been able to achieve for its separatist agenda”.

A safety blanket was thrown over Punjab Saturday because the police mounted a chase to try and arrest Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, a Khalistan sympathiser, who finally gave them the slip. The police stated a manhunt was launched to nab Amritpal and 78 members of his outfit have been arrested.

The police motion got here on the eve of the demise anniversary of singer Sidhu Moosewala and Jakhar stated the federal government was seeking to escape from the embarrassment of interviews of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, allegedly in jail.

Jakhar instructed The Indian Express that the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) authorities had “ended up doing what the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence) had not been able to achieve for its separatist agenda through many of their minions; whether it is people sitting in Canada, America, Germany or England”.

Amirtpal’s supporters stormed the Ajnala police station close to Amritsar on February 23 to free certainly one of his associates from custody.

The former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, who joined BJP in May final 12 months, stated, “The state government very well could have waited another two days. If they did not act in Ajnala, no sky would fall in the next two days. They could have waited for people to leave (after G20 meetings). I think the Punjab government has provided the separatist with an international audience. I think G20 members represent almost two-thirds of the world’s population. They have been able to send their agenda to at least these delegates. This very well could have been avoided.”

Jakhar added, “First of all, it should have been acted upon right there and then in Ajnala without any hesitation by still giving proper regards to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which this fellow (Amritpal) was carrying around in Palki Sahib. There was no excuse to let it linger and wait for this. Everybody knew the timing of the G20 meetings. The only thing I think the government miscalculated is that they did not realise that the Moosewala death anniversary is coming up on this date. So, to avoid that fallout, the state government launched the crackdown.”

Jakhar stated, “I would call this an unplanned and botched operation that has made Punjab security agencies a laughing stock. It has given a bad name to Punjab internationally and has done more harm to the image of India that these things are still festering here, and these kinds of sentiments are still festering. I think uncalled attention has been brought upon this charlatan called Amritpal. He is a rookie and a pseudo-preacher, and could have been dealt with in that manner. Now he has got himself what you call international recognition through the weak government, virtually a non-existing government, the government without any guts, without any courage.”

On the Punjab Police’s official assertion that Amritpal was on the run, Jakhar stated, “I hope this is only a smokescreen. I still don’t give this kind of credence to this fellow Amritpal that he could have escaped. I believe they (the police) have him in their custody and are trying to suit things when this conclave and Moosewala death anniversary is going on. But, if Amritpal had not been arrested, the blame lies on the government. I think it forced the police to act in a hurry without planning.”

Jakhar added, “And the crackdown job could have been done overnight. They could have picked him up from wherever he was staying instead of this drama and show, which, of course, was uncalled for. They could have done this in the middle of the night like they do pick-up. They go around raiding petty criminals at 3 am or 4 am. Where was the need to make such a big show? I think it was totally unplanned.”

Jakhar dismissed the idea that the Punjab authorities and police had deliberate the crackdown nicely upfront. “If it was planned, then the bigger question is why it was planned when the G20 was on. What was the urgency? There was no urgency from February 24 till this date. What prompted this action when G20 delegates were still in Amritsar? They (delegates) could have left tomorrow evening. By evening everyone would have gone. They could have picked Amritpal tomorrow. I think the AAP government has done more harm than the ISI has been able to achieve for so many years. This botched operation is regrettable and condemnable. This present AAP establishment has proved itself to be incapable of running the affairs of Punjab. Punjab deserves better.”

Meanwhile, Julio Francis Ribeiro, who served as Punjab director common of police throughout the peak of militancy within the state, praised the Punjab Police crackdown in opposition to Amritpal and his associates.

“Punjab Police have done a good thing. Amritpal will be caught eventually. They should have done it earlier,” he instructed The Indian Express.

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