With the Punjab Police claiming that it is still on the hunt for Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh and the ban on mobile internet services extended for a day, top Sikh bodies Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have termed the measures as "coercion."
In the statement issued by the Akal Takht secretariat, Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh told the Punjab government and the central government not to "create an atmosphere of terror in Punjab."
The Akal Takht is the highest temporal body for the Sikh community.
The Akal Takht and SGPC's statements come in the context of concerns among Amritpal Singh's supporters for his safety.
What Akal Takht Jathedar Said:
To the central and state government:
"The government should refrain from adopting the practice of coercion and illegal detention with the youth who live in a democracy and talk about their rights."
"There are deep wounds due to the policies of past governments of Punjab and no government has taken serious steps to heal them. This context can't be ignored. There is deep dissatisfaction in the Sikh youth against the discrimination and excesses of successive governments."
"The policy of religiously and politically weakening Sikhs has created a vacuum and unrest. This is neither in the interest of the government nor of Punjab. We all have to think about this."
To Sikh youth:
"Follow the path of their intellectual and academic endeavours instead of taking the path of conflict and contribute to the golden future of the nation."
"The establishment's plan may be with wrong intentions, so Sikh youth should refrain from any actions that may give the government an opportunity to target them."
These are only translated excerpts. Here's the full statement in Punjabi released by the Akal Takht secretariat.
What SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami Said:
"The manner in which this operation was conducted - buses not plying, mobile internet suspended, Section 144 imposed - has created panic among the public. This has reminded people of earlier days."
"Punjab government should make arrests as per due procedures and not create an atmosphere that alienates people or creates terror."
At the time of writing this story, there is still a lack of clarity regarding Amritpal Singh's whereabouts. The police say that he is still on the run while some of his supporters allege that he was detained on 18 March itself.