Bhindranwale 2.0 or anti-drug crusader? The Amritpal enigma | India News

He is no more our son. He is now the son of Punjab, son of the panth,” Tarsem Singh, father of Amritpal Singh, had told TOI while he campaigned in the heat of May as his son, slapped with NSA, contested as an Independent from Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat from jail in faraway Assam.
The 31-year-old pro-Khalistan preacher, who heads Waris Punjab De, won by a margin of close to 2 lakh votes.His popularity surprised political pundits.
It’s been a turbulent phase with law enforcing agencies for Amritpal after returning to Punjab two years ago from Dubai, where he went when he was 19. After being on the run, he was held on April 23 last year after a 37-day chase.
“He came back to Punjab and began working with the youth to start an anti-drugs campaign. He got love and support from youth for this. Younger people heeded his call. Many began shunning the habit and following the path shown by our Gurus once again. When he was arrested, there was angst among people, particularly youths, across Punjab,” Tarsem said.
Amritpal also raised a range of issues-from “Guru sahib ki beadabi” (sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib) to water issues and Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners)-that drew people to him.
It was the daring act by Amritpal on Feb 23 last year-laying siege to Ajnala police station along with thousands of supporters against the arrest of his aide and injuring six cops with swords and sticks-that got him behind bars. He was arrested from Rode, the village of Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Barely nine months before his arrest, after his return from Dubai in Aug 2022, Amritpal got formally baptised at Anandpur Sahib to become an Amritdhari Sikh (pure Sikh). It was a complete transformation for a person who was earlier seen dressed in western clothes. Sporting a flowing beard, he began wearing a turban and robe similar to that of Bhindranwale. Some even started calling him Bhindranwale 2.0.
Even his ‘dastar bandi’ (turban-tying ceremony to bestow responsibility) in Sept 2022 was held at Bhindranwale’s village. It was then that he began espousing the cause of Khalistan.

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