Q/ You say Amritpal is innocent. Is he fearless, or has he failed to understand the law of the land?
A/ Amrit told me anything could happen anytime. He was [aware of it]. If the government is against him, it can arrest him, but he never told me that he could be [pursued] in such a way. The way it is being done is illegal and it is not the correct way to try to detain someone. Obviously, with what he was doing, I knew there is a risk of him getting arrested. I used to ask him for my own peace of mind, “Amrit, will you be at risk?’’ He told me that risk was always there because he was preaching about Sikhism and the government did not like it.
Q/ Did you know about his preaching activities before you met him?
A/ Yes, I messaged him regarding one of the projects he was doing. He was about to go live on Instagram to discuss the issue of raising our voice for Sikhism and saving our language. That was how we got in touch. But, at that point in time, I never knew that we were going to get married.
Q/ Were you following him on social media?
A/ Yes, I have been following him on Instagram for a year. I saw that he was popular and his posts were being shared by many people. I sent him an appreciation message and told him that what he was doing was very good. I said he was powerful in his approach and that I would support him. It was just a supportive message.
Q/ Did anyone share his social media posts with you?
A/ No, he just popped up on my Instagram page. We had no common contacts and there was no third person involved in our marriage other than our families.
Q/ What do you think he liked about you?
A/ I think he liked the fact that even though I was born and brought up abroad, I was deeply spiritual in my approach to life. I pray five times a day, look after the elderly, don’t drink alcohol and eat vegetarian food. I think it was a different image that he saw, compared with girls who live abroad. But I don’t think he married me because he wanted me to be a part of some jatthebandi (Sikh group). In fact, I asked him whether he was sure about marrying me as I was not as religious as him.
Q/ When did your family move to the UK? Are they religious?
A/ My grandfather moved to the UK in 1951 when he was in his 20s. The family has been there since then. But we used to visit Punjab every two years or so, but as I became busy in life, I found less time to travel to India. Like many Sikh families abroad, I used to go to Punjabi classes at the gurdwara since I was 12, or perhaps even younger. So I learnt how to read and write the language. As a Sikh, you believe in your religion, but my family is not a family of preachers and we did not have such discussions at home. It was like any other regular household.
Q/ When you spent time with Amritpal, what did he talk about?
A/ Whenever we spoke, it was not about jatthebandi. In fact, I used to avoid asking him deep questions because I knew he was already busy and would be tired after his programmes. So I wanted him to rest and not have just one thing on his mind all the time. Of course, when he was home, he was never doing anything that would cause any danger to anyone. He was so gentle and innocent.
He told me that if he had to choose between the panth and our relationship, the panth would come first. I always knew that I was his second priority. But he really loves me and cannot see me upset, ever. Every girl, every woman wants a caring husband―if I knew he could not give me his time and did not care about me, why would I marry him? But it was my choice.
Q/ Have you travelled with him during his programmes?
A/ He always wanted me to be safe. That is why he did not want to take me along during his programmes. I could still step out since no one recognised me and all the hate hitting him would not hit me.
Q/ Does your family support you?
A/ If they were not supportive, this marriage would not have happened. I told them about Amrit, but when we first spoke, the situation was nothing like as it is today. Amrit did not know that by coming back to Punjab, his image was going to become so big. We had other plans. We did not think we were going to live in Punjab forever. I left my job, my family.
Q/ What is your main worry?
A/ It has been so many days and we do not know about his whereabouts. If he is with the police, at least we know he is there, but the problem is that we do not know anything about him. There is no contact and I don’t know what state he is in. It is very hard for me and I just want him back home safe. I left everything to be with him. But I am not leaving Amrit.
Q/ Do you plan to go back to the UK?
A/ I am not going to run away from this situation. [There are] allegations that I have links in the UK or that I am doing something illegal. I am here legally, I can stay here for 180 days. I have been here for two months already. I will not go against the law and will not overstay beyond the stipulated period. This is my home now. Earlier, too, when I went back to the UK after staying here for six months, it was for a week to visit my family. Amrit said it was reverse migration. He did not go to the UK, I came here.