'What restraint?' Preacher Amritpal Singh rubbishes Punjab Police claim
Police later said they exercised restraint because the protesters were bringing a copy of the scripture in a palanquin as they advanced towards the police station
Radical preacher Amritpal Singh on Tuesday dubbed the "restraint" shown by the Punjab Police during the Ajnala clashes as "false propaganda", asking if it respects the Guru Granth Sahib why did it use lathis and erect barricades against his supporters.
His supporters, some of them brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala police station on the outskirts of Amritsar city last week, extracting an assurance from the police that a kidnapping case Lovepreet Singh accused will be released.
Police later said they exercised restraint because the protesters were bringing a copy of the scripture in a palanquin as they advanced towards the police station.
"See the video. If they had so much respect, then what was the need to use 'lathis'?," Amritpal Singh, who is seen as a Khalistan sympathiser, said at a religious event in Tarn Taran.
"If there was so much respect, there should have been a showering of flowers," he added.
"What was the need to put up barricades and the presence of thousands of policemen there?" Singh said, terming the police claim "false propaganda."
He said he went to the police station for the release of his aide or to be put behind bars.
A day after the clash in Ajnala, a local court ordered his aide Lovepreet's release on the basis of a police application. In a vote-face, police had said their investigation showed that the man was not at the place where the alleged kidnapping took place.
In his speech Tuesday, Amritpal Singh accused the police of using force.
He also spoke about his "drive" against drug abuse.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring has asked the Bhagwant Mann-led state government to act against Singh.
"When will you act against Amritpal, @BhagwantMann Sahab? What are you scared of? If you don't take any action against him, we at @INCPunjab will be forced to come out on the streets. We won't let go hard-earned peace of Punjab. Nip the evil in the bud," he said in a tweet.
Opposition leaders have slammed the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab for caving to the radical preacher, with some recalling the violence in the 1980s when militants demanded a separate state of Khalistan.
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