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Punjab crackdown: 'Khalistan flag' pictures, firearms training videos found on arrested man's phone

Even before the crackdown began, Amritpal Singh was being likened to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whose followers carried out a violent campaign for Khalistan

PTI Chandigarh Published 24.03.23, 07:20 PM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

A phone recovered from an aide of Amritpal Singh carries pictures of the flag, emblem and currency of “Khalistan” and videos of firearms practice by young men allegedly picked for the radical preacher’s Anandpur Khalistan Fauz, Punjab Police said on Friday.

The incriminating material shows the “sinister designs” of this nascent militia force and the enormous threat they would have become for “peace and harmony of Punjab and national security”, a statement by police in Khanna district said.


While the pro-Khalistan preacher has eluded police since it began a crackdown against him and his Waris Punjab De outfit, several of his alleged aides are now in custody.

The phone seized after the arrest on Wednesday of Tejinder Singh Gill alias Gorkha Baba (42) of village Mangewal held pictures that revealed the design of the flag and the emblem of “Khalistan” and the logos for its proposed provinces, police said.

Khanna’s Senior Superintendent of Police Amneet Kondal said the mobile phone also had pictures of an AKF hologram and Khalistan currency, including a “10 dollar” note. There was also a picture of a Pakistani national's driving licence.

The “Khalistan flag” had some Urdu words on it, she said.

Even before the crackdown began, Amritpal Singh was being likened to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whose followers carried out a violent campaign for Khalistan – a separate Sikh state – in the 1980s.

SSP Kondal said Gorkha Baba was a part of the “close protection team”, entrusted with Waris Punjab De chief's security.

The arrested man was a member of the Anandpur Khalsa Fauj (AKF), being raised by Amritpal Singh to wage an armed struggle for the formation of a separate Khalistan state, a police statement said.

He came in contact with Amritpal Singh through one Birkamjit Singh Khalsa, whom he had met during the farmers' agitation on the outskirts of Delhi.

He went to the preacher's native village Jallupur Khera in Amritsar district five months back and was inducted as his gunman. Baba was given weapons marked AKF and firing practice was conducted at a makeshift range at the village.

Police said he was in close proximity of Amritpal Singh during last month’s storming of the Ajnala police station by the preacher and his supporters to secure the release of an arrested man.

During the investigation, police said, he revealed that all AKF members were assigned belt numbers like AKF 3, AKF 56 and AKF 47 -- perhaps based on their seniority or proximity to Amritpal Singh.

The examination of his phone showed that two WhatsApp groups – “AKF” and “Amritpal Tiger Force” – were created.

The members of the AKF were paid salaries, police said.

The members were youngsters who came to the ‘de-addiction centres’ run by Waris Punjab De and were later indoctrinated and given firearms training, according to police.

Police said another associate, Gurbhej Singh alias Bheja, arranged 10 bullet-proof jackets with AKF inscribed on them for the group two months back.

He also gave firearms training to newly inducted members of the group at the makeshift firing range.

Videos of members showing their expertise in assembling, disassembling, cleaning weapons have been recovered, the SSP said.

Harsimrat Singh Hundal alias Labh Singh alias Tiger was responsible for supervising Amritpal Singh’s security, the SSP said.

“He took take care of the weapons and assigned them on day-to-day basis to members of close protection team,” she said.

“All weapons and bullet-proof jackets had the AKF hologram imprinted on them. Some weapons even had a long-range telescope affixed on them," she said.

The statement said the threat posed by the AKF to the state’s peace and harmony by the AKF has been “averted by timely action of Punjab Police.”

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.


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