Khalistan sympathizer Amritpal Singh on the run despite being searched by Punjab police

Amritpal Singh, a Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathizer, is on the run, according to Punjab police, and a manhunt to arrest him is still ongoing.

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

Chahal said Amritpal Singh had already arrested six to seven gunmen.

The Punjab government launched a massive crackdown on Amritpal on Saturday, with police arresting 78 members of a group he led, officials said.

However, the elusive preacher himself eluded the police and escaped their trawl when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district.

With the operation underway, authorities tightened security in several locations and suspended internet and SMS services in the state through noon Sunday.

Police on Saturday in the state launched a “massive nationwide lockdown and search operation (CASO)” against members of the Waris Punjab De group, led by Singh, against whom multiple criminal cases have been registered.

Seventy-eight people have been arrested so far, while several others are being held for questioning, they said.

The police action came a day before the start of Amritpal Singh’s “Khalsa Wahir” – a religious procession – which was to begin in Muktsar district.

During their nationwide operation, police seized a .315-caliber rifle, seven 12-caliber rifles, a revolver and 373 live cartridges of various calibers, they said.

Security has been tightened in many places in the Punjab with intensive vehicle checks. A police spokesman said supporters of ‘Waris Punjab De’ or WPD are involved in four criminal cases relating to spreading disharmony among classes, an attempted murder, an attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful performance of their duties obtain from government officials.

A Feb 24 FIR is registered against WPD elements for the attack on Ajnala Police Station.

Last month, Amritpal and his supporters, some brandishing swords and rifles, broke through barricades and stormed into Ajnala police station on the outskirts of the city of Amritsar, clashed with police over the release of one of Amritpal’s aides.

After the incident, which injured six police officers, including a senior police superintendent, the state’s AAP government faced heavy flak and was accused of bowing to extremists.

Amritpal Singh, a returnee from Dubai, was appointed last year to head Waris Punjab De, founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a road accident in February last year.

(With inputs from PTI) Khalistan sympathizer Amritpal Singh on the run despite being searched by Punjab police

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