Amid a police crackdown on Amritpal Singh and his outfit, the pro-Khalistan preacher appeared in a video on Wednesday, calling for a 'Sarbat Khalsa' congregation on Baisakhi to discuss issues related to the Sikh community and saying he is in high spirits.
The fugitive said if the Punjab government wanted only to arrest him, they would have come to his home and he would have given up. He claimed the police action against him was an "attack" on the Sikh community.
"As far as my arrest is concerned, it is in the hands of God," he said in Punjabi in the undated video.
"Main chardhi kala chaan, koi ve mera vaal vinga nahi kar sakya (I am in high spirits. Nobody could harm me)," he said, adding he did not fear being arrested earlier nor he does now.
There was no official word on the purported video, which appeared as the Punjab police try to close in on Amritpal Singh. Some reports have also suggested he might surrender as the security in Amritsar and Talwandi Sabo area in Bathinda has been tightened.
Since the crackdown began on March 18, the 30-year-old radical preacher has been on the run, using different vehicles and changing his appearance multiple times. He managed to escape the police dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district.
Several videos and images have appeared on social media that purportedly showed him alone and with his aides in different areas.
The crackdown on his outfit Waris Punjab De started weeks after Amritpal Singh's supporters stormed a police station in Ajnala, near Amritsar, to secure the release of one his followers. The Punjab government has slapped the stringent National Security Act against him and some of his close aides.
In the latest video, Amritpal Singh urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to call a 'Sarbat Khalsa' to discuss the issues related to the Sikh community and asked members of the community to participate in large numbers.
"If we have to save the youth and Punjab then we should be part of the Sarbat Khalsa,” he said in his appeal. "For a very long time, our community has got entangled with holding small morchas on many issues," he said.
"We know the path which we have tread, we will have to face all this. It was our duty to raise voice against it," he said.
The radical preacher also slammed police for invoking the National Security Act against his associates and sending some of them to Dibrugarh jail in Assam.
Amritpal Singh, who wore a black turban and a shawl in the video, said he was appearing before the Sikh community for the first time after the police crackdown was launched as he wanted to speak to them about whatever happened that day.
"If the government's intention had only been to arrest me, it could have come to my house and arrested me, I would have given up," he said. "But the way adopted by the government to deploy lakhs of cops and laying a cordon, the Almighty brought us out of that," he said.
Accusing the Punjab government of not allowing his 'Khalsa Vaheer' (religious procession) earlier, he said he lost touch with what was happening in the state when the mobile internet services were suspended by the state government.
"I have now seen some news showing what is happening in Punjab," he said.
Referring to the police crackdown, he claimed that the Punjab government has made Sikh youths accused in the matter and sent to sent to jails. "They did not even spare women and children and also sent even handicapped youth to jails.”
"This was the same thing the Beant Singh government had done with Sikhs," he alleged.
He also thanked people for supporting him during the crackdown.
”But we need to understand the present situation that it was not only an issue of my arrest. It was a matter of an attack on the Sikh community. I did not fear arrest earlier nor do I now,” he said.
Without naming Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the fugitive slammed him for his comments pertaining to the Akal Takht Jathedar who had given a 24-hour ultimatum to the government for the release of Sikh youths from jails.
Amritpal Singh asked the Akal Takht Jathedar to take a tough stand on the matter.