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Simranjit Singh Mann held for sedition

Last updated on: June 14, 2005 16:41 IST

Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar, was on Monday arrested from Sangrur district of Punjab in connection with four different cases of sedition registered against him.

He would be produced before a judicial magistrate and the state police would seek his remand to investigate the cases against him.

Mann has raised pro-Khalistan slogans on June 6 in the golden temple complex on the 21st anniversary of Operation Blue Star. He was evading arrest and on June 12, he again raised the same slogans at Chowk Mehta, headquarters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Amritsar district and delivered provocative speeches.

Mann also admitted that he had helped Bhindranwale and his men by distributing arms while he was posted in Faridkot as a senior superintendent of police in the early 1980s.

"The offences committed by him are serious and seditious in nature and he should be prosecuted for the offences. He distributed arms to terrorists and committed heinous crimes.

He had also made provocative speeches in Anandpur Sahib and Damdama Sahib as well. He has been booked under 124 A of IPC for waging war against the state," a senior Punjab police officer told rediff.com.

Mann, now in his sixties, resigned from the Indian Police Service in protest against Operation Blue Star in June 1984.

He was named in the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, but investigations could not substantiate the charges and hence he was not prosecuted in that case.

Mann contested on an Akali Dal ticket from Tarn Taran constituency in 1989 from jail and he won his seat with the highest margin. He refused to enter the parliament on the ground that he was not allowed to carry his Kirpan inside the house.

Mann's latest words give a new twist to the now non-existent Khalistan movement. He is talking of forming the state by merging areas of Punjab from both Pakistan and India.

"Whenever he is short of money, he resorts to these gimmicks, but he knows that nobody would take him seriously except those in power," said a senior journalist of a leading newspaper of Punjab.

When Chandershekhar was the prime minister, he invited Mann to hold talks. But before anything concrete could take shape, the Chandershekhar government fell and Mann was found struggling to keep his party alive. Now his SAD is known as SAD-Amritsar.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi