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Two weeks before the scheduled launch of the Khalsa Vaheer campaign, concerns were raised about the leader of Waris De Punjab and his alleged private army, the Anandpur Khalsa Force (AKF). This was discussed at a meeting called by the Ministry of Home Affairs with intelligence agencies and Punjab Police officers.

Amritpal’s speeches, in which he accused the government of disarming Sikh youth and inciting fear that this was being done to target the community, had become a cause for alarm for the Centre. The detailed plan was prepared at the meeting to arrest him and his aides, with the suggestion to transfer them to jails in the Northeast or southern states to avoid law and order issues.

The Khalsa Vaheer campaign was meant to be a religious procession starting from the Akal Takht Sahib in Amritsar, covering the entire Punjab over the next few months. However, sources revealed that the march was supposed to include supporters sporting automatic weapons and ammunition and spread Amritpal’s ideas of Khalistan.

Another concern was Amritpal’s objection to the state government’s decision to review firearms licenses, claiming that it would target Sikhs and leave them without arms. Additionally, the rise of the Anandpur Khalsa Force and its intolerance towards migrant non-Sikh workers from UP and Bihar in Punjab were also noted with concern.

Intelligence officials also informed that Amritpal had gone to Dubai in 2012 and came in contact with individuals suspected of having ISI connections. They also mentioned that funds collected for the Khalsa Vaheer campaign were allegedly being used for personal purposes by Amritpal’s family.

Amritpal was also accused of using de-addiction centers to raise a militia and stockpile illegally sourced weapons from Pakistan. The officials also mentioned an increase in the number of drones carrying drugs from across the border since Amritpal’s arrival in Punjab.

Mahender Singh Manral is an Assistant Editor with the national bureau …

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