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Punjab: Massive op launched to catch Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh; 78 people held
Amritpal Singh
Amritpal Singh's supporters take to streets as police launch statewide crackdown to arrest the Khalistani leader (Image Credit: Twitter video grab)

Punjab: Massive op launched to catch Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh; 78 people held

| @indiablooms | 19 Mar 2023, 01:31 am

Chandigarh: In a major crackdown on the pro-Khalistan group Waris De Punjab, the Punjab Police has arrested at least 78 supporters and detained some of them for questioning while the party’s leader Amritpal Singh continues to be at large.

The police have also arrested Daljeet Singh Kalsi, who manages Amritpal Singh's finances, in Haryana's Gurgaon.

Earlier, media had reported that the self-styled radical preacher, who is referred to by his supporters as the new version of Khalistani separatist and terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was chased and arrested by the Punjab Police on Saturday near Punjab’s Jalandhar.

A massive manhunt has been launched to capture Amritpal Singh who was last seen fleeing on a motorcycle, NDTV reported.

However, some reports say that Amritpal Singh has been arrested. Tarsem Singh, father of Amritpal Singh told news agency  ANI, "We don't have correct info about him (Amritpal Singh). Police conducted searches for 3-4 hours at our house. They didn't find anything illegal...Police should have arrested him when he left from the house..."

A special team of the state police consisting of personnel from seven districts had followed the separatist leader's convoy while he was travelling to Jalandhar's Shahkot tehsil, according to an NDTV report.

Internet in the area has been suspended across the state till 12 pm tomorrow as Amritpal's associates started circulating frantic videos urging supporters to reach Shahkot, the report said.

Anticipating violence and disturbance, a large contingent of police personnel has been stationed outside Jallupur Khaira, which is Amritpal's hometown in the Amritsar district. Law enforcement officials and paramilitary forces have cordoned off the village.

The police stopped all movements on the roads and placed huge barricades in Shakot.

According to the report, the Punjab government waited for the conclusion of the G20 event to launch the operation against him.

The leader of the Waris De Punjab has been active in Punjab for a few years after he was made the chief of the radical organisation founded by actor and Khalistan sympathiser Deep Sandhu.

The self-styled radical Sikh preacher is often seen accompanied by armed supporters.

On February 23, a massive protest occurred in support of Amritpal Singh's key aide, Lovepreet Singh, who had been arrested on charges of kidnapping. Amritpal Singh was at the center of the protest, during which his supporters, some of whom were armed with swords and guns, broke through barricades and stormed a police station on the outskirts of Amritsar city in Ajnala. They then secured a guarantee from the police that Lovepreet Singh would be released. Amritpal Singh subsequently held the Punjab Police responsible for the violence.

Six police personnel, including a Superintendent of Police rank officer, were injured during the clash.

After Amritpal Singh’s blatant act, the opposition parties slammed the AAP government in the state. In a statement, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that his government is dedicated to upholding law and order in the state and that they will not allow anyone to disrupt the hard-earned peace.

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