In an attempt to put the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab in a tight spot, the opposition parties are pushing for a wider consensus on the “law and order crisis” emerging in the state due to the activities of the controversial head of ‘Waris Punjab De’ organisation, Amritpal Singh.
Amritpal and his supporters, some of whom were brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and forced their way into the Ajnala police station on the outskirts of Amritsar last week. They extracted an assurance from the police that Lovepreet Singh, who was accused of kidnapping, would be released.
On the eve of the Budget session, former Speaker Rana K P Singh asked opposition parties to carry out a united onslaught on the government for failing to adequately respond to what he alleged was a deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
“Rising above political affiliations, the parties in one voice should mobilise public opinion against the radical leader and seek strong administrative action against him,” said Rana in reference to Amritpal Singh.
He stressed that the state and the Centre should evolve a joint strategy to control the law and order situation before it became “uncontrollable”. “We should learn lessons from the history, especially the black days in Punjab. Stakeholders, be it the Centre or the state, should sit together to resolve the issue before it became uncontrollable,” said Rana.
The Congress is planning a massive protest show across the state to pressure the Bhagwant Mann government to take action against Amritpal Singh. Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring has written to the Akal Takht Jathedar, hoping that the 15-member committee set up to investigate the incident of carrying the Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroop’ by Amritpal Singh and his supporters during a march to a police station in Ajnala, will recommend action.
Warring has also written to DGP Gaurav Yadav, warning that the party would be forced to “take to the streets” if Amritpal Singh was not arrested and all those guilty of laying siege and attacking police personnel at Ajnala police station in Amritsar. In his letter to the DGP, Warring reminded him of an earlier letter he had written “regarding the dangerous and nefarious activities” of the controversial preacher.
The Akali Dal and the BJP, among other opposition parties, have increased pressure on the Mann government. This comes as the police are yet to file an FIR in the Ajnala case, although six days have passed. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann raised concerns about the law and order situation in the state during his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.