Giving the chasing Punjab Police teams a slip, fugitive Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh had hid in a gurdwara (Sikh shrine) before fleeing on motorbike in western attire during the crackdown against him and his supporters on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference, Punjab Police spokesperson and Inspector General of Police (IGP) headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill on Tuesday said the secessionist campaigner hid in a gurdwara at Mangal Ambian village in Jalandhar district.
Releasing Amritpal’s photos in different attire and form, Gill said that ‘Waris Punjab De’ head swapped his traditional Sikh religious clothes for shirt and trousers and also switched his turban in the same gurudwara before making his getaway on a motorbike.
“Amritpal along with three others went to a gurdwara in Mangal Ambian village in Breeza car. Amritpal then changed his outfit and wore a shirt and trouser. Amritpal along with three others escaped on bikes. Three people who went to the gurdwara in Breeza car with Amritpal have been arrested while those persons who fled with him on bikes are yet to be arrested. Brezza car has been recovered from one Manpreet Singh,” the IGP said.
Gill said the National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked against Amritpal Singh. “A non-bailable warrant has been issued against him on 18 March. Police is working as per law. People have suspicions, but the prime accused (Amritpal) has not been arrested yet. As soon as the arrest is made, we will inform you,” he added.
The IGP said that 54 persons associated with Amritpal have been arrested till now since Saturday. Five of Amritpal’s associates who have been booked under NSA have been sent to Dibrugarh jail in Assam. Swords, walkie-talkie sets and a .315 bore gun was recovered from them.
Gill said that the radical preacher was never in police custody. He also denied if the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was involved in a probe against Amritpal yet. “”The operation against Amritpal was carried out with help of central security agencies but on ground, it is only Punjab Police. There is no NIA team in Punjab,’’ said Gill.
Earlier, Amritpal was caught in CCTV footage at a toll plaza sitting in the front seat of a SUV. The CCTV footage was from a toll booth in Jalandhar showing him sitting in the front seat in a Brezza.