Police attacked in 'cowardly' manner, but we exercised utmost restraint: Punjab DGP on Amritpal Singh incident
Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh's supporters barged into a police station in Ajnala with swords and guns, demanding Singh's aide Lovepreet be released
A day after supporters of preacher and Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh stormed a police station, Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav on Friday said the demonstrators had used the holy Guru Granth Sahib as a shield and attacked police personnel in a 'cowardly' manner, leaving six of them injured.
Despite giving an assurance of a peaceful demonstration, the protesters used sharp-edged weapons, police said. "The demonstration was permitted when under the cover of Palki Sahib of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, police were attacked in a cowardly manner," Yadav said, adding that six security personnel were injured in the incident.
"Police acted with utmost restraint due to the 'maryada' (respect) of Guru Granth Sahib and preserved it. Had the police opened fire, it would have led to more issues. We acted with restraint on account of the presence of the holy Guru Granth Sahib," he said.
On Thursday, Amritpal Singh's supporters, some of them brandishing swords and guns, broke though barricades and barged into a police station in Ajnala on the outskirts of the Amritsar city, extracting an assurance from the police that kidnapping case accused Lovepreet Singh would be released.
'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh and his supporters also brought a vehicle carrying a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib for holding "Amrit Sanchar" (a Sikh ceremony) at the police station.
Amritpal's aide and kidnapping accused Lovepreet Singh 'Toofan' walked out of jail in Ajnala on Friday.
The director general of police (DGP) said the Punjab Police is committed to maintaining peace and harmony, but certain elements are trying to destabilise peace in the state. Six police officials, including former India hockey player Jugraj Singh, were injured in the incident, he said.
Asked if a case has been registered in connection with Thursday's violence in Ajnala, Yadav said video footage of the same was being analysed and the statement of injured police personnel will be recorded when they are medically fit.
He also talked about how his colleague Jugraj received eleven stitches after he was hit with a sharp-edged weapon by the protesters.
"Punjab police is a battle-hardened force and we have won victory against terrorism. We have maintained harmony in Punjab and the state will continue to fight the nation's battle... this conspiracy shall not be allowed to succeed," the Punjab DGP said referring to elements trying to destabilise peace in the region.
He further said, "India is a democratic country with freedom of expression to every citizen. Considering that, our policing is based on merit and fairness with all opportunities given to citizens to put forth their view if they feel injustice is being done to them." Lovepreet was released from Amritsar Central Jail, hours after a court in Ajnala issued orders to discharge him from custody based on an application by the police. A case was registered in Ajnala on February 16 against Amritpal and his 30 supporters for allegedly kidnapping and thrashing Barinder Singh, a resident of Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district.
Regarding this FIR, DGP Yadav said certain doubts were raised by those named in the case and they claimed that they had no role to play in the crime and that the case should be investigated on merit.
"These people met Amritsar SSP Rural and other police officials and were assured that the investigation would be done as per merit. Whosoever is found at fault will be proceeded against as per law and whoever is not found at fault, police will not press any charges against him," he said. The top cop also appealed to people to maintain peace and harmony in the state.
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