According to authorities, Amritpal Singh, a self-styled radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser, was apprehended by the Punjab Police following a spectacular pursuit.A special squad of state police from seven districts had been following the separatist leader’s convoy when it was on its way to Jalandhar’s Shahkot tehsil. The internet was shut down throughout the state until 12 p.m. tomorrow as Amritpal’s colleagues began distributing frantic videos urging followers to go to Shahkot.
A strong police force has been positioned outside Amritpal’s home hamlet, Jallupur Khaira, in Amritsar district, in anticipation of a disturbance. According to sources, the area has been cordoned off by police and paramilitary personnel.
According to sources, the state administration waited until the G20 summit was over before taking action against him.
Amritpal is the leader of “Waris Punjab De,” a radical organization founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a car accident in February.
Amritpal Singh’s presence had prompted the police to restrict all routes and erect massive barricades in Shahkot.
The hardline separatist leader, who has been active in Punjab for many years, is often accompanied by armed followers.
On February 23, Amritpal Singh was at the center of a major demonstration after the arrest of his senior assistant, abduction suspect Lovepreet Singh. His followers, some armed with swords and weapons, smashed past barriers and stormed a police station in Ajnala, on the outskirts of Amritsar, demanding that Lovepreet Singh be freed. He eventually blamed the violence on the Punjab Police.
During the confrontation, six police officers were hurt, including a Superintendent of Police. The police have not said whether or not a FIR was filed against Amritpal for the violence.
Responding to the police action today, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu stated the guy who “used to preach about taking up guns for Khalistan is now fleeing away fearing the police.”
“Is it possible for a Sikh to flee? If he had the bravery, he would have confronted the cops. He’s rushing about like a gidad on the streets (a jackal). I used to claim previously that he had come to murder our children. He works for (intelligence) agencies,” he said.
Faced with criticism from the state’s opposition parties, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann recently said that his administration was dedicated to preserving law and order in the state and that no one would be allowed to disrupt the hard-won calm.
Anurag Thakur, the Union Minister, had earlier this month criticised the AAP administration in Punjab, claiming that law and order “collapsed” in the state following the establishment of “one government” and urging it to “wake up” and take action.