Amid heavy police deployment, fugitive separatist leader of ‘Waris Punjab De’, Amritpal Singh, failed to show up and surrender on Baisakhi today, much to the chagrin of Khalistani supporters.
The sleepy town of Talwandi Sabo where Takht Damdama Sahib is situated, witnesses large crowds of devotees every year on Baisakhi, the day when Guru Gobind Singh baptised Sikhs and formed the Khalsa Panth in 1699.
Basing strict ‘bandobast’ on an intelligence input, Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav made heavy deployment of police in Talwandi Sabo, especially around the ‘pandal’ set up by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) where member of parliament Simranjit Singh Mann was to deliver a speech. Policemen in plain clothes mingled with ‘Sangat’ keeping a close watch on all those roaming near the SAD (A) stage.
This correspondent’s journey from Chandigarh remained trouble-free. At some places, the security men just asked our names and checked the passengers sitting in the car.
There was no tension visible among the people visiting the holy shrine and every activity seemed to be taking its normal course. The stalls set up by ‘Nihang Singhs” supplied ‘ghotta’ (cannabis) mixed with milk and dry fruits unhindered to willing devotees. Nihang salesmen would invite customers saying in chaste Punjabi, “Aao Jahaaz chaddo veer ji” (Come on brother take a flight on an aeroplane). Traditional sweets, ‘jalebis, laddoos, barfi’, and also the new entrant Chinese fast food was selling like hot cakes.
Some 1000 gullible villagers at most were present at the SAD (Amritsar) ‘pandal’ listening to Khalistani activists condemning BJP’s pro-Hindutva policies. Imaan Singh Mann, heir apparent to Simranjit Mann’s political legacy, delivered a forceful speech calling upon the ‘sangat’ to support SAD’s struggle for Khalistan.
Mann, a Berkley University graduate, profusely quoted from the Constitution of India terming it as anti-Sikh, and called for the creation of Khalistan.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)