Chandigarh, March 21
Four days after the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh and arrested several of his associates, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday said “severest of severe” action was being taken against those conspiring to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.
Uncle, two others flown to Dibrugarh
- Amritpal’s uncle Harjit, 2 others shifted to Dibrugarh jail
- In all, 7 shifted to the high-security Assam jail since March 19
Mobile Net restored partially in Punjab
- Mobile Net services restored partially in Punjab on Tuesday
- Curbs remain till March 23 in Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga & Sangrur districts, Ajnala (Amritsar), areas adjoining Mohali’s YPS Chowk, Airport Road
This even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court took the Punjab Government to task over its inability to apprehend Amritpal despite having 80,000-strong police force and five-six FIRs having been registered in the matter. Stating that it seemed to be an “intelligence failure” if Amritpal could not be apprehended, the High Court asked the state to file a status report on the police operations being undertaken to nab him.
Chief Minister Mann, in a video message in Hindi, asserted that Punjab was in “safe and firm hands”, and that no one would be allowed to vitiate the state’s peace. Right from the freedom struggle to making India self-reliant in food production to safeguarding the country’s borders, Punjabis had always led from the front, said Mann. “Some anti-national elements hobnobbed with foreign forces to put the state on boil and disturb its hard-earned peace. Strict action has been taken against them,” he said. In the High Court, a Bench of Justice NS Shekhawat was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Amritpal’s legal adviser Iman Singh Khara, who alleged that the police had illegally kept Amritpal in its custody and sought that he be produced before the court.
The HC questioned Advocate General Vinod Ghai on why the activist had not been arrested when there were 80,000 police personnel in the state. The HC was also informed that provisions of the stringent National Security Act had been invoked against Amritpal, and that all his close associates had been arrested. The Bench also questioned the Advocate General as to how Amritpal alone was able to give the police the slip when others were nabbed.
Ghai told the HC that Amritpal had been declared a fugitive and his role was being probed in several criminal cases. He said some details about the investigations could not be revealed in open court. The Punjab Police action came about a month after he and his supporters broke into Ajnala police station with weapons and managed to free one of their associates from custody. Six police officials were injured in the clash.
In an affidavit submitted before the court during the hearing today, Satinder Singh, SP, Amritsar Rural, said Amritpal, a resident of Jallupur Khera in Amritsar, was absconding and raids were being conducted to apprehend him.
“Amritpal was neither arrested nor detained or taken into custody at any point in time,” the affidavit stated..
Amritpal’s father Tarsem Singh was also present during the proceedings in the High Court. The court has fixed March 28 as the next date of hearing.
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