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First Sikh In BJP’s Top Body, Iqbal Singh Lalpura Had Arrested Bhindranwale, Believed He Was A ‘Sant’

Lalpura who retired as a Deputy Inspector General DIG from Punjab Police in 2012 and joined the BJP has held that despite the fact that he arrested Bhindranwale, it was wrong to arrest him.

Iqbal Singh Lalpura
File photo: Chairman, National Commission for Minorities Iqbal Singh Lalpura addressing a press conference, in New Delhi on May 4, 2022. (ANI Photo/PIB)

Chandigarh: Iqbal Singh Lalpura, who became the first Sikh politician appointed to the BJP parliamentary board on Wednesday, was the policeman who had first arrested Sikh militant and preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Lalpura, also included in BJP’s the election committee, had apprehended Bhindranwale from Mehta Chowk in Amritsar, Punjab, over 40 years ago.

Bhindranwale’s arrest came about after the Punjab Kesri Editor-in-Chief Lala Jagat Narain was killed by two motorcycle-borne terrorists at Chando Kalan in Haryana on September 9, 1981. Subsequently, the government wanted to arrest Bhindranwale in that case.

Bhindranwale had a condition that the man to arrest him should be a Amritdhari or a baptised Sikh. Lalpura was a baptised Sikh who along with Baaj Singh Bhullar arrested Bhindranwale and took him to Bassian Rest House in Ludhiana. The arrest was to take place on September 13, 1981. But strangely it was postponed despite Bhindranwale making himself available for arrest. He was then arrested on September 20, 1981.

Lalpura Thought Of Bhindranwale As ‘Sant’

Despite having arrested Bhindranwale, Lalpura thought that Bhindranwale was a Sant (saint). And that his arrest could have been avoided.

Lalpura who retired as a Deputy Inspector General DIG from Punjab Police in 2012 and joined the BJP has held that despite the fact that he arrested Bhindranwale, it was wrong to arrest him.

Lalpura has said in the past that the then Deputy Inspector General (DIG) JS Anand did not agree with him on the question of Bhindranwale’s arrest. While Lalpura had said that his arrest was untimely, Anand disagreed with him.

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While speaking to the media in June 2021, Lalpura maintained that Bhindranwale fell into the trap of Akalis. According to Lalpura, Bhindranwale’s initial demand was the release of Bhai Amrik Singh for which he started the Dharam Yudh Morcha on July 19, 1982.

When Bhai Amrik was released, Bhindranwale should have ended the Morcha. But since Akalis were already part of the Morcha they changed the goalpost from Bhai Amrik’s release to the implementation of the Anandpur Sahib resolution. Though, Sikh scholars say that Dharam Yudh Morcha was started as a full-fledged political morcha.

At present, Lalpura is also the chairman of the National Commission for Minorities and will be the first Sikh to have a seat on the BJP’s parliamentary board and election committee. Though, electorally, Lalpura hasn’t tasted success at all. In the recently held assembly elections, he was fourth in the race from the Roopnagar constituency from where Dinesh Chadha of the Aam Aamdi Party won.