Sarbat Khalsa
Sarbat Khalsa 2015 congregation in Amritsar, Punjab.Twitter/RavinderSingh

The Punjab police have filed an FIR against the Sarbat Khalsa congregation which took place in Amritsar on 10 November. As many as 58 Sikh leaders are in preventive custody while 20 have been booked under charges of waging war against the state. The 20 people have been booked under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, according to a TOI report.

Local police officers in Punjab claimed they have collected videos of the event to bolster their case against the radical outfit. "The speeches not only spread communal violence but were also aimed at hurting national integrity, sovereignty," reported the Indian Express.

Punjab is not the only state to register sedition charges. In October, sedition charges were filed against Hardik Patel over alleged comments on the Gujarat Police. In Tamil Nadu, folk singer S Kovan was jailed for his satirical songs against the state government.

The Sarbat Khalsa, which started in the 18th century, conducted its last meeting in 1986.

The congregation is known to have appointed a new set of jathedars (head priest). Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh's assassin Jagtar Singh Hawara was chosen head of the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikh community, TOI reported.

Inspector General (border zone) confirmed the move to arrest members of the Sarbat Khalsa.
"We have booked them for sedition, as their speeches were anti-national," he said.

The FIR was registered by the Station House Officer (SHO) at the Chittiwand police station in Amritsar on Friday.

"As a result of the speeches made from the stage, supporters raised slogans to spread hatred in different groups and sects and hoisted anti-country flags. Incited by the speeches, some supporters raised communal and anti-country slogans while going back to their homes after conclusion of event," the FIR read, accorsding to the Indian Express.

The Punjab Police claimed ISI links to the event after Babbar Khalsa International Chief Wadhawa Singh Babbar put out a letter on social media, the report further stated.

Some of the leaders named are Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda, Jasjaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala, Dhyan Singh Mand, and Simranjit Singh Mann.

Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Badal was in present in Amritsar on both days, TOI reported.