Despite heavy police deployment across the state, fugitive Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh is believed to have crossed over to neighbouring Haryana within 24 hours of the crackdown launched on the secessionist campaigner and his supporters on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference here, Punjab Police spokesperson and Inspector General of Police (IGP) headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill said on Thursday that Amritpal was last seen in Haryana’s Kurukshetra on 19 March where he took shelter in a woman’s house.
The IGP said after hiding in a gurdwara at Mangal Ambian village in Jalandhar district, Amritpal – who is on the run since a police crackdown on his outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’ began on Saturday – reached Sheikhupur village in Phillaur tehsil of the Jalandhar district in Punjab on a motorcycle.
From there, the ‘Waris Punjab De’ head, along with his accomplice Babbal Preet crossed Sutlej river on an abandoned railway bridge between Phillaur and Laddowal before taking a truck to cross over to Haryana. Then, the duo spent the night in Kurukshetra and left the place early in the morning on 20 March.
Gill said the Punjab Police and Central agencies are on a hot pursuit of Amritpal Singh. “As far as Amritpal’s trail is concerned, our team is still tracking him. CCTV footage was retrieved from several locations. There is a Sekhowal village which has a gurdwara. They changed their bike there as well and after that, tried to get a boat to cross the river. When they failed to get one, they used an old bridge to cross the river,” the IGP said.
He further said that after roaming around, they hired an auto. After this, the further movement was located in Kurukshetra, Haryana. “After staying the night, they moved out of there the next day. We are examining the CCTV footage, and we hope that we will soon arrest Amritpal Singh,” he added.
The IGP announced the arrest of Tejinder Singh alias Gorkha Baba of Khanna (Ludhiana) from whose incriminating videos of arms training and firing by Amritpal and associates have been recovered.Police also recovered a hologram of ‘AKF’ which was the private militia of Amritpal.
The IGP said a resident of Mangewal village in the Khanna area of the Ludhiana district, Tejinder Singh was deputed in the security of Amritpal. He said there are more sensitive videos and photos recovered from Gorkha Baba which cannot be shared at this juncture.
Gill said so far, 207 persons have been detained by the police in connection with the manhunt of Amritpal. He said while 30 persons were booked under criminal cases, 177 persons have been detained as preventive measures.
Meanwhile, the Haryana Police have arrested Baljit Kaur who allegedly harboured Amritpal Singh and his associate Babbal Preet at her home in Kurukshetra. The woman was known to Babbal Preet for more than two-and-half-years and he has stayed there several times.
“We have nabbed the woman, Baljit Kaur, who harboured Amritpal and his associate Papalpreet Singh at her home in Shahabad on Sunday. The woman has been handed over to Punjab Police,” said Kurukshetra superintendent of police Surinder Singh Bhoria.