(RightWing.org) – Sikhism is a Dharmic religion and philosophy that originated in India’s Punjab region around the turn of the 16th Century. It is the world’s 5th-largest major organized faith. Sikhs have been calling for the creation of a separate ethno-religious state in India called Khalistan since the fall of the British Raj, or rule, in the country in 1947. India’s National Security Agency (NSA) recently questioned a Khalistan movement suspect for his alleged role in a recent clash between extremists and police officials.
On May 24, The Tribune (Chandigarh), a major English-language daily newspaper, reported that NSA agents recently interrogated Amritpal Singh, 30, for over two hours at Dibrugarh Central Jail, located in the northeastern state of Assam.
Officials had been detaining Singh in the facility since his April arrest. The 30-year-old Khalistan extremist returned to India in September 2022 after spending roughly a decade in Dubai. Singh was recently appointed as the head of the Waris Punjab De, the “Heirs of Punjab,” a Sikh separatist group based out of the northern state of Punjab.
Aljazeera reported that two events led to Singh’s arrest.
- In February, a group of hundreds of Singh’s supporters stormed a Punjab police station using handheld weapons like guns and swords, demanding the release of one of the Sikh leader’s aides.
- In March, Singh eluded arrest at a police roadblock. Some of his associates live-streamed the resulting car chase on social media outlets, prompting a month-long hunt for the fugitive by thousands of para-military troops. Authorities also suspended mobile internet services throughout the region until his capture.
The Tribune also reported that NSA interrogators questioned nine of his associates who have been detained since March. It remains unclear what, if any, charges Singh faces and if a court hearing has been scheduled for him.
BBC News recently reported that Sukhchain Singh Gill, Punjab’s inspector general held a press conference shortly after Singh’s arrest. He told reporters that law enforcement officials are detaining him under the National Security Act. He noted that the act allows the government to hold an individual for up to a year without being charged.
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