One of the aides of absconding Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh has links to Pakistan, intelligence agencies have claimed.
Sources told NDTV that the pro-Khalistan preacher’s financier Daljit Singh Kalsi is “close” to Saad Bajwa, the son of former Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.
As per the report, Kalsi had links to Saad’s Dubai-based company and had also visited the United Arab Emirates city for two months.
Let’s take a closer look at Amritpal Singh’s aides that have hit the headlines recently.
Daljit Singh Kalsi
Kalsi, who has been detained under Section 3 (2) of the National Security Act, is a close associate and adviser of Amritpal Singh, as per Hindustan Times (HT) report.
Kalsi often accompanied the Waris Punjab De chief during his public appearances since the Khalistan sympathiser arrived in India last August.
A resident of Delhi’s West Punjabi Bagh, Kalsi set up an office in Delhi some time back and worked as an agent for modelling and movie contracts in Punjab, reported NDTV.
As per HT, Kalsi is believed to be behind Amritpal’s anointment as “Mukh Sevadar” of the Waris De Punjab movement following the death of Deep Sidhu in a road accident in February 2022.
HT report last week said Kalsi had submitted a memorandum against India to the Consul General of Pakistan in Canada’s Vancouver.
As per the NDTV report, Kalsi’s two-month stay in Dubai, the dates of which are unknown, was arranged by gangster Lakhbir Singh Sandhu also known as Landa Harike.
Harike has been accused of several high-profile crimes in Punjab, including the Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) attack at Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters in Mohali in May last year.
Moreover, it is alleged Kalsi was in contact with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Sources told NDTV that Amritpal’s aide has links to a gangster close to the Bambiha gang and is also close to gangster Neeraj Bawania.
Papalpreet Singh is reportedly another close aide of the pro-Khalistan preacher. He was Amritpal’s media advisor.
As per an Indian Express report, Amritpal and Papalpreet – who has a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science and a three-year polytechnic diploma – have likely fled to Nepal and are hiding there.
The police have reached out to the local police in Kathmandu to monitor the duo’s movements and prevent them from escaping to a third nation.
38-year-old Papalpreet and Amritpal were last spotted on 19 March at the former’s friend’s house in Shahbad, Kurukshetra.
Papalpreet and Amritpal’s picture recently went viral on social media. As per News18, the image was taken a day after the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against Amritpal and his Waris Punjab De outfit.
Sources told Indian Express Papalpreet claimed to be a video journalist and an activist.
In 2015, he was arrested and booked for sedition after police accused him of having links to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, reported Indian Express.
Papalpreet had joined Simranjeet Singh Mann’s party Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) in 2017 but left within a year.
He also ran a website that investigating agencies said was a “Khalistan propaganda site”, as per the Indian Express report.
Another close aide of Amritpal, Varinder Singh alias Fauji, was recently arrested in connection with the Ajnala police station violence case.
On 23 February, 30-year-old Amritpal and hundreds of his armed supporters had stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to get another supporter, Lovepreet Toofan, out of the jail.
Varinder is a resident of Johal Raju Singh Wala village, which falls under the Patti sub-division of Tarn Taran district, as per HT.
Varinder, who is a retired constable from the Indian Army, has been slapped with the National Security Act (NSA) and sent to Assam’s Dibrugarh jail in the Ajnala case.
He served as Amritpal’s bodyguard and was among the 10 gunmen who always accompanied the pro-Khalistan leader, as per The Tribune.
Ultimatum to the Punjab government
Meanwhile, Akal Takht issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Monday to the Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab government, demanding the release of Sikh youths picked up during the crackdown on Amritpal Singh.
The Akal Takht is the highest seat of authority for the Sikhs.
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said after convening a meeting of panthic organisations that if the ultimatum was not honoured, the Akal Takht will launch ‘Khalsa Wahir’, reported The Times of India (TOI).
Singh also asked why the stringent NSA was invoked against only those who supported Amritpal and his demand for Khalistan. “There are lakhs who demand Hindu Rashtra. Those who are calling for Hindu Rashtra should also be booked” under NSA, the jathedar said, as per NDTV.
“All the Sikh bodies, including SGPC and SAD will go to people and highlight how the Sikhs are being terrorised and defamed,” Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president also told the media on Monday, as per TOI.
Earlier, the Akal Takh had asked the Waris Punjab De chief to surrender before the police and cooperate with the investigation.
Following the crackdown, the Punjab Police arrested over 100 aides of the Khalistan sympathiser.
The Punjab government has said it has asked the police to release those not involved in any “anti-national activity”.
With inputs from agencies