Pro-Khalistan leader and fugitive Amritpal Singh had set up a temporary shooting range on the banks of a river at his native village Jallupur Khera in Amritsar district and was giving training to his aides for setting up militia ‘Anandpur Khalsa Fauj’ (AKF), police said on Thursday.
The Punjab Police claimed that in this temporary range, training of handling and loading of firearms was given to youth to recruit them in the AKF. These “incriminating” revelations of “anti-national” activities of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ came to the fore after the police scanned pictures and videos of the mobile phone recovered from Amritpal’s gunman Tejinder Singh Gill aka Gorkha Baba, who was arrested by the Khanna police on Thursday morning.
Inspector general of police (IGP-headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill said the pictures and videos recovered from Baba’s phone are enough to indicate the sinister plans of Amritpal and his group to foment trouble in the border state.
“Police have also received holograms of the AKF from Baba. The videos are enough to show how big threat they would have become for the national security and peace and harmony of Punjab,” said the IGP headquarters.
The police also found format and design of “Khalistani dollar” and videos of youths learning the use of hi-tech guns from Baba’s phone.
Gill said on March 22, Khanna police registered a case under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 27 of the Arms Act against Baba.
“Our team is interrogating Baba on their plans,” the IGP said.
The state police had earlier said that Amritpal was trying to form AKF and had imprinted the name of this nascent outfit on bulletproof jackets and rifles that were recovered in an ongoing crackdown against the separatist leader and his followers.
It further admitted to the “strong suspicion of foreign funding” along with an “ISI (Inter-Sevices Intelligence) angle” with the case. “Going by the circumstances, it seems that the ISI is involved and there is foreign funding as well,” Gill had said earlier.
The IGP said a total of 207 people have been detained so far, of which 30 are involved in criminal activities. He added that 177 people have been taken under preventive custody and action will be taken against ‘hardcore elements’. “Misguided and innocent youth will be released after giving them warning. The chief minister has made it clear that this operation is not against the innocent or misguided youth,” said the IGP.
Keeping in view the internet shutdown in some districts of the state, CM Bhagwant Mann has decided to extend the last date for applying/filling forms for any Punjab-based competitive exam so that students don’t face inconvenience.