Police zero in on Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh, cut internet in Punjab

Amritpal Singh was often escorted by armed supporters.

New Delhi:

Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh is alleged to be evading Punjab police who are trying to arrest him, sources said. His father has been detained, they said.

A special state police team comprising personnel from seven districts tracked the Khalistani leader’s convoy en route to Shahkot tehsil in Jalandhar.

The internet in Punjab was down until 12pm tomorrow as Amripal Singh’s aides started a frantic viral video calling on supporters to reach Shahkot.

In anticipation of unrest, a large police force has been deployed outside Amritpal Singh’s village in Jalupur Haila, Amritsar district. Police and paramilitary forces have cordoned off the village, sources said.

The state government waited until after the G20 event to take action against him, the source said.

Amritpal Singh heads “Waris Punjab De”, a radical group started by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a traffic accident last February.

Police closed all roads and erected huge roadblocks in Shahkot because they had been informed of Amritpal Singh’s visit in advance. Khalistan leaders, who have been active in Punjab for several years, are often seen escorted by armed supporters.

On February 23, Amritpal Singh was at the center of massive protests against the arrest of his key aide, the kidnapping accused Lovepreet Singh. His supporters, some brandishing knives and guns, broke through barricades and stormed a police station in Ajnala, on the outskirts of Amritsar, demanding police assurances that Lovepreet Singh would be released. He later blamed the violence on Punjab police.

Six police officers, including a superintendent-level officer, were injured in the clashes. Police have yet to say whether an FIR has been filed against Amripal Singh over the violence.

Responding to today’s police action, Congressman Ravneet Singh Bittu said the “man who used to say he would take up arms for Khalistan today ran away because he was afraid of the police”.

“Has a Sikh ever run? If he had had the guts, he would have faced the police. He was running up and down the street like a bring (jackal). As I said before, he came to harm our children. He’s from the (intelligence) agencies,” he said.

In the face of heated discussions in the state’s opposition parties, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann recently stated that his government is committed to maintaining law and order in the state and will not allow anyone to disrupt the hard-won peace.

Union minister Anurag Thakur attacked the AAP government in Punjab earlier this month, saying law and order in the state had “collapsed” after “one government” was formed, and suggested it “wake up” and do something about it .

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