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Punjab Police arrest Amritpal; crackdown on Khalistani preacher’s aides

Anticipating adverse fallout of his arrest, the police had made elaborate deployment of their personnel outside Amritpal’s native village, Jallupur Khaira in the Amritsar district before arresting him.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Days after Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh and his supporters stormed a police station in Amritsar leaving six cops injured, the Punjab Police on Saturday launched action against Amritpal and his aides.

While there is no official confirmation till the filing of this report, sources said the Waris Punjab De’ head Amritpal and at least six of his aides have been detained following a well coordinated operation by the police across several districts.

The self-styled radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal was reportedly intercepted near Mehatpur in Shahkot. Amritpal evaded the police but six of his aides were arrested at the spot.  Amritpal was however arrested from Nakodar following a chase, reports said.

In a live-streamed video shared on social media, a supporter of Amritpal, apparently running away from the police, is heard saying that the police were chasing him. He is heard appealing to the people to share the video as much as possible.

In another video, Amritpal’s aide is heard saying policemen were after ‘bhai sahab’ (Amritpal). He appeals to followers to reach in large numbers at the live location shared by him.

A large contingent of police has been deployed outside Amritpal’s native village, Jallupur Khaira, in Amritsar district. Police and paramilitary forces have sealed the village.

Though there was no official comment on the operation, Punjab Police requested “all citizens to maintain peace and harmony”. “Punjab Police is working to maintain law and order. Request citizens not to panic or spread fake news or hate speech,” the state police said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Internet services have been suspended in some parts of Punjab till Sunday noon. Last month, Amritpal and his supporters, some of them brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala Police Station in the outskirts of the Amritsar city, and clashed with police for the release of one of Amritpal’s aide.

During the incident, six policemen including a Superintendent of Police rank officer had suffered injuries.  The police have not yet revealed whether an FIR was lodged against Amritpal for the violence.

Reacting to the police action against Amritpal today, Congress Member of Parliament from Ludhiana,  Ravneet Singh Bittu said the man (Amritpal)  who “used to talk about taking up arms for Khalistan is today running away fearing the police ”.

“Does a Sikh ever run away? He would have faced the police if he had courage. He is running around in the streets like a gidad (jackal). I used to say earlier, too, that he has come to get our children killed. He is a man of (intelligence) agencies,” he said