Khadoor Sahib LS seat: Amritpal’s supporters portray him as ‘anti-drug crusader’ - Hindustan Times

Khadoor Sahib LS seat: Amritpal’s supporters portray him as ‘anti-drug crusader’

By, Sultanpur Lodhi/patti
May 09, 2024 08:02 AM IST

Supporters in Khadoor Sahib campaigning for Amritpal Singh's release from jail, highlighting his anti-drug crusade. His parents and activists are rallying for his cause in the Lok Sabha elections.

Questioning the government’s move to put radical Sikh leader Amritpal Singh in jail, his supporters in Khadoor Sahib are of the view that he was just campaigning against drugs and organising amrit sanchar (Sikh initiation ceremony).

Tarsem Singh, father of Amritpal Singh, along with Paramjit Kaur Khalra, during a poll campaign in Patti. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Tarsem Singh, father of Amritpal Singh, along with Paramjit Kaur Khalra, during a poll campaign in Patti. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

“Our vote will go to him to get him released from the jail,” they say, adding that his release would enable him to take up the anti-drug crusade.

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Amritpal is contesting the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from Khadoor Sahib, contradicting his earlier stand of not having faith in the Constitution and sovereignty of India. Khadoor Sahib was the epicentre of the Sikh militancy in 1990s. This constituency was created in 2008 following the delimitation of erstwhile Tarn Taran LS constituency from where Simranjit Singh Mann secured a landslide victory in 1989. Mann contested the polls from Bhagalpur jail and was released after five years following his record victory. Though it’s been 35 years, Amritpal’s supporters are reminding people of 1989 polls and exhorting them to repeat the history.

As Amritpal is in Dibrugarh jail of Assam, his father Tarsem Singh and mother Balwinder Kaur are campaigning separately, visiting villages to address poll meetings mostly being held on the premises of gurdwaras.

In an event organised by Punjab Kisan Union (Baagi) in Ahli Kalan gurdwara of Sultanpur Lodhi, Balwinder Kaur urged people to get Amritpal released “in order to resume the mission against drugs”.

Granthi Gurjit Singh said, “Granthis of this area are also raising voice for Amritpal Singh.”

Paramjit Kaur Khalra, wife of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra who was abducted and killed by cops in 1995, contested the 2019 LS elections from this segment unsuccessfully, getting 2,14,489 votes. This time, she is also campaigning for Amritpal.

“This battle is between ‘neki’ (righteousness) and ‘badi’ (badness),” Khalra said in Sakhira village gurdwara of Patti segment, on the occasion of death anniversary of a noted militant, Sukhdev Singh Sakhira. Amritpal’s father Tarsem Singh and Advocate Harpal Singh Khara were also present.

“We need to support Amritpal, rising above political parties, religions and castes,” said Tarsem Singh, accompanied by Harpal Singh Balehar, who was fielded by the SAD (Amritsar), but the party withdrew his candidature to support Amritpal.

While both Tarsem and Balwinder are mum over other parties, other campaigners are seen targeting others, especially SAD, for fielding candidate instead of supporting Amritpal.

In Durgapur village, a resolution was passed in the gurdwara, cutting across the party lines, to vote for Amritpal. Congress sarpanch Balkar Singh was also there.

“What wrong did Amritpal do? He worked against drugs,” said Congress’ Amritsar vice president Kuldeep Singh Baath who belongs to Jandiala Guru segment.

Sympathisers of Amritpal have come from other parts of the state to garner support for him, increasing the challenge for other candidates.

Pertinently, the issue of Khalistan or sovereign Sikh state is missing from the poll campaign.

The SAD, AAP and Congress have fielded Virsa Singh Valtoha, Laljit Singh Bhullar and Kulbir Singh Zira, respectively.

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