Jalandhar, March 18
A nearly three-hour-long dramatic chase led to arrest of supporters of Amritpal Singh in Jalandhar district on Saturday afternoon, even as the pro-Khalistan activist managed to escape.
The police started following Amritpal’s cavalcade near Mehatpur village around 12.30 pm. The action began close to 1 pm at Shahkot village where Amritpal was scheduled to address a gathering before proceeding to Rampura Phul in Bathinda for another function.
12:30 pm: Cops start chasing Amritpal’s cavalcade at Mehatpur
1:00 pm: Ram vehicles into cavalcade, arrest aides; Amritpal flees
1:15 pm: Aides share video, seek help; Moga border sealed
2:00 pm: Amritpal runs towards Malsian, turns back to Mehatpur
3:00 pm: Reports claim separatist arrested: mobile net snapped
3:30 pm: Contradicting reports on arrest surface, lead to confusion
9:00 pm: Police confirm Amritpal absconding, 78 supporters held
Just when Amritpal’s convoy reached the outskirts of the village, it was stopped at a check-post, where cops surrounded the vehicles. Police teams were able to catch his supporters in two cars.
The police teams chased Amritpal in SUVs. A video message from a panic-stricken supporter went viral around 1.15 pm. It showed Amritpal inside the car, with a supporter saying that cops were chasing them.
Amritpal’s car went on narrow village link roads. He first attempted to flee to Moga district. However, as the borders were sealed, the car turned towards Mehatpur village, with cops on their trail. However, confusing reports started emanating at this juncture.
While one said, he had been reportedly arrested from a gurdwara at Mehatpur around 3.30 pm and taken to the Shahkot police station. Another report said he had been taken to Jalandhar. However, eventually, the police announced at 9 pm that he had managed to escape.
A number of videos, shared by his supporters, went viral on Internet. In one such video, Amritpal’s supporter Bhagwant Singh, who is known as “Pardhan Mantri” Bajeke, could be seen running in the fields and stating that the police had cornered him.
In the crackdown, 78 supporters of Amritpal were arrested.
Tarn Taran SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said police teams raided 50 locations and 15 persons were arrested on Saturday. He said the arrested persons had been booked under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC. The SSP said no one would be allowed to violate law and order.
Harpal Singh Baler, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), was arrested from his residence at Baler village and produced in the Patti SDM’s court. There were reports that many activists had gone underground after learning about the police raids.
Harjinder Singh, a close associate of Amritpal Singh, was not at his home in Rasulpur village when the police went to arrest him. His brother Gurinder Singh was arrested
The Moga police took Amritpal’s three associates in custody on Saturday. Two of them were identified as Gurmeet Singh of Bukanwala village and Bhagwant Singh, alias Pardhan Mantri Bajeke. Later, the police also detained one Basant Singh from Barnala district. He was also a close associate of Amritpal Singh and running a drug de-addiction centre.
On the other hand, sources revealed that the services of the state Intelligence Department were also taken by the police to nab the associates of Amritpal and keep a watch on movements of separatists.
The district administration had already imposed prohibitory restrictions on carrying weapons at public places without proper
In Patiala, the police today arrested three members, including city unit head Satnam Singh.
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