Fugitive pro-Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh and his mentor Papalpreet Singh once again dodged the Punjab Police in a village near Hoshiarpur town where a massive search operation is underway, officials said on Wednesday.
An Innova vehicle, with three people onboard, comprising Amritpal, was stopped by the police on Tuesday night at a checkpoint but they managed to flee in the dark, an official familiar with the development told IANS.
The police were chasing the car from Phagwara. The car was later found abandoned near Gurdwara Bhai Chanchal Singh on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road. They fled on foot.
Police have cordoned off villages in Hoshiarpur district and are carrying out door-to-door search operations.
The police, which was on high alert, had inputs about Amritpal’s movements in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar districts.
A new video of Amritpal Singh and Papalpreet Singh surfaced on Tuesday, purportedly showing Amritpal walking in a street in Delhi without a turban and wearing a mask.
A day earlier, the state’s Advocate General informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the police were close to arresting Amritpal Singh.
The high court was hearing a petition seeking his release, by a man who claimed that Amritpal Singh was in “illegal” custody in Jalandhar.
The Advocate General clarified that Amritpal Singh was not arrested and the police were trying its best to arrest him.
“Punjab is passing through a sensitive stage and national security is involved. As such, the arguments addressed should be limited to the contentions raised in the habeas corpus petition,” he said.
After hearing counsel for both the parties, Justice N.S. Shekhawat asked the petitioner’s counsel to show evidence that Amritpal Singh was in illegal custody of the police.
He said the state’s categorical stand was that Amritpal Singh had not been arrested.
Amritpal Singh has been evading arrest, changing his location and looks multiple times, since March 18 when the police launched a massive crackdown to arrest him.