Pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh declared fugitive, massive search operation on to nab him : The Tribune India

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Pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh declared fugitive, massive search operation on to nab him

78 of ‘Waris Punjab De’ arrested so far, while several others detained for questioning, say police

Pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh declared fugitive, massive search operation on to nab him

Pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh. Tribune file


Chandigarh, March 19

A massive search operation continued on the second day on Sunday to nab pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh, police has said.

“He is now a fugitive and we are looking for him and we will soon arrest him,” Jalandhar Police Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal told reporters near Nakodar in Jalandhar late on Saturday night.

Chahal said six to seven gunmen of Amritpal Singh have been arrested.

The Punjab Government had on Saturday launched a major crackdown against Amritpal, with police arresting 78 members of an outfit headed by him, officials said.

The elusive preacher himself, however, gave the police a slip and escaped their dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district. As the operation went under way, authorities stepped up security at several places and suspended internet and SMS services in the state till Monday noon.

Meanwhile, security was also tightened at Amritpal's native village Jallupur Khera in Amritsar, where Amritpal's father Tarsem Singh alleged that his son has been detained by police.

“There is no information (about him) since yesterday. We feel he has already been detained," he said.

"... there is no need of fear because he (Amritpal) has not done anything wrong," Tarsem said, adding that his son was weaning the youth off drugs.

Speaking to reporters in Jalandhar on Sunday, Police Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal said they will soon arrest Amritpal.

Asked if there were any 'lapses' as there was no news about the preacher's whereabouts even as his supporters were held, Chahal shot back and asserted that there were no lapses in the investigation.

“It is a game of 'chor' (thief) and 'sipahi' (police). Sometimes, they (culprits) manage to escape. But we will soon arrest him (Amritpal)," he said.

On how Amritpal managed to escape, the senior police official said the former's vehicle was chased by the security personnel.

“His (Amritpal) vehicle was chased for 20 to 25 km. He (his vehicle) was at the front and naturally, he was having an advantage and there were narrow streets and somehow, he managed to escape by changing his vehicle," Chahal rued.

He said Amritpal's two vehicles have been seized.

The Jalandhar police commissioner along with the Rapid Action Force personnel took out a flag march in Jalandhar and said nobody will be allowed to disturb the peace and harmony of the region and that strict action will be taken against the erring.

Police had launched a "massive statewide cordon and search operations (CASO)" against elements of the 'Waris Punjab De' (WPD), headed by Amritpal, against whom several criminal cases had been registered.

The police action also comes ahead of the start of Amritpal's 'Khalsa Wahir' - a religious procession - from Muktsar district.

During the statewide operation, nine weapons, including one .315 bore rifle, seven rifles of 12 bore, one revolver and 373 live cartridges of different caliber have been recovered so far, police said.

The police had also informed that the WPD elements were involved in four criminal cases relating to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in lawful discharge of duties of public servants.

An FIR dated February 24 stands registered against WPD elements for the attack on Ajnala Police Station.

Last month, Amritpal and his supporters, some of them brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala Police Station on the outskirts of the Amritsar city, and clashed with police for the release of one of Amritpal's aide.

After the incident, in which six policemen, including a superintendent of police rank officer, had suffered injuries, the AAP government in the state had faced severe flak and was accused of kowtowing to extremists.

Dubai-returned Amritpal was last year anointed the head of 'Waris Punjab De', which was founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu who died in a road accident in February last year.

#Amritpal Singh

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