Who Is Amritpal Singh And Why Is Punjab Police Chasing Him?

The interviews Amritpal Singh gave as part of his speeches supporting demands for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs, and his recent storming of a police station in Punjab in February explain why the Punjab Police are chasing him.

The Punjab Police’s attempts to arrest fugitive Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh continued on Monday, after two days of state-wide cordon-and-search operations that led to the arrests of 112 of his associates and several others linked to his organisation, Waris Punjab De, being detained.

Amritpal Singh, who has garnered a significant following through his speeches that often focussed on Punjab’s youth and religion, has given interviews supporting demands for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs. He has even stylised himself after former militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The preacher and his supporters face several criminal cases, including one over storming a police station in Punjab in February.

By reviving memories of the 1980s Punjab insurgency, Amritpal Singh’s actions have led to concerns about law and order in Punjab.

Manhunt still on

On Saturday, Amritpal Singh evaded arrest by reportedly fleeing on a motorcycle with police in pursuit in Punjab’s Jalandhar district. However, his uncle Harijit Singh and close aide Daljeet Singh Kalsi are among his alleged associates arrested by police.

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Before his arrest, Harijit Singh reportedly told journalist Rattandeep Singh Dhaliwal, citing a purported video from Shahkot police station, that Amritpal Singh may have already been detained and could be among those taken to Assam. Suspected close aides of Amritpal Singh have been taken to Assam’s Dibrugarh jail.

The police also filed a fresh case against Amritpal Singh and some of his supporters for allegedly possessing illegal weapons.

The suspension of mobile internet and most SMS services across several districts of Punjab, introduced on Saturday amid the police operation, were extended until noon on Tuesday to prevent the spread of misinformation.

According to an Australian Today report citing Times Higher Education After Canada, some Australian universities have started rejecting visa applications of Indian students from the states of Punjab and Haryana.

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