Drama lawlessness could be seen in Punjab's Amritsar on Thursday when a group of a self-professed religious preacher and his followers overran a police station carrying guns and swords. The police however did not retaliate, thus exercising restrain as they did not want the matter to become uncontrollable, an NDTV report quoted a senior official.
The attackers had demanded the release of one of their arrested associates, who also carried the Guru Granth Sahib, a holy book of the Sikhs along with swords and guns, Senior Superintendent of Punjab Police Harpal Singh Randhawa said. "What happened yesterday should not have happened. Punjab Police did not retaliate because Amritpal (Singh) had brought Guru Granth Sahib with him. If we had retaliated, things would have gone awry. We respected Guru Granth Sahib," he said.
The SSP also added that Amritpal had earlier said that he would hold only peaceful dharna. "But he cheated us. His men attacked the Punjab Police. But we did not retaliate at all because Guru Granth Sahib was in front. I would like to salute the Punjab Police personnel who did not retaliate."
Punjab police also faced criticism for its response on Thursday which may embolden the likes of Amritpal Singh who demand a separate Sikh nation called Khalistan and that it signified the weakening of law and order under the state's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. Refuting the criticism, Randhawa said, "There is a rule of law in Punjab. Amritpal is not above the law. If we had taken even a little action, the situation could have worsened across Punjab. We did what we saw fit. Whatever happened yesterday, action will be taken according to the law."
He also added that there won't be any Khalistani movement happening in Punjab. "People of Punjab, Punjab Police have finished terrorism from Punjab. These are some bad guys. Amritpal is being called wrong everywhere today. We want to assure the whole country that there is rule of law in Punjab."
Randhawa also informed that the police case against Lovepreet Toofan Singh, a close Amritpal aide, whose arrest triggered the mob fury, has not been dropped. "An SIT (Special Investigation Team) has been formed, everyone's role will be investigated," Randhawa said.
Punjab Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, told news agency ANI on the incident, "People of Punjab should have faith in Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to maintain law and order in the state."
Dhaliwal's assurance came as the Punjab Police announced Toofan's release on grounds of "enough proof" of his innocence provided by the members of the mob a day ago. "The court has given release orders for Lovepreet Toofan who will be released from Amritsar Jail today," senior police officer Satinder Singh said.
Toofan Singh was arrested by the police for alleged kidnapping and beating up a man. He is an associate of the Amritpal Singh-led 'Waris Punjab De' organization, founded by the late actor and activist Deep Sidhu who died in a road accident in February last year.