This Article is From Apr 07, 2023

Punjab Cops' Leave Cancelled Until April 14 Over Amritpal Singh: Sources

Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh has been evading arrest since his supporters overran a police station over the arrest of one of his aides.

Amritpal Singh has asked Akal Takht to convene the "Sarbat Khalsa" gathering. (File)

New Delhi:

Punjab police has cancelled the leaves of all cops in the state till April 14 after radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh sought a meeting of the Sikhs later this month, said sources.

Amritpal, who has been evading arrest since his supporters overran a police station over the arrest of one of his aides, has asked the chiefs of the top Sikh body, Akal Takht, to convene the "Sarbat Khalsa" gathering in Punjab's Bathinda on the occasion of Baisakhi on April 14.

Until then, the leaves of all gazetted and non-gazetted officers have been cancelled, Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav said in a message to the officers, according to sources. All previously sanctioned leaves stand cancelled and the heads have been asked not to sanction any fresh leave till April 14.

The separatist's appeal for the congregation came in two video messages that surfaced last month. He also asked the jathedars (chiefs of Akal Takht) to take out a religious procession from the Akal Takht in Amritsar to Damdama Sahib in Bathinda ahead of the gathering on Baisakhi.

Akal Takht chief Giani Harpreet Singh has appealed to Amritpal to surrender in front of the police and that he will neither be allowed to surrender at Akal Takht nor will the Sikh body negotiate with the cops over this.

Only the Akal Takht chief can decide whether to call such a congregation after consulting with Sikh scholars and intellectuals, top gurdwara body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said following Amritpal's request.

"It (congregation) is the personal wish of Amritpal Singh. It is the sole prerogative of the Akal Takht jathedar to call or not call a 'Sarbat Khalsa'. The jathedar would see what needs to be done under the prevailing circumstances," SGPC general secretary Gurcharan Singh Grewal told news agency PTI.

'Sarbat Khalsa' congregations were called only on two other occasions - in 2015 and 1986. The last one was held on February 16, 1986.