flag marches in Punjab; Suspension of mobile internet until Monday

Chandigarh: To prevent untoward incidents in the case of the arrest of fleeing radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, head of Waris Punjab De, who has been declared a “fugitive”, police along with CRPF officials led flag marches through Punjab on Sunday through .

Punjab Police are planning to register Amritpal Singh under the provisions of the National Security Act (NSA), sources familiar with the development told IANS.

In the interest of public safety, the government extended the blocking of SMS and mobile internet services until Monday noon, with the exception of voice calling.

Amritsar Deputy Police Commissioner Parminder Singh Bhandal told the media that police have set up 100 checkpoints in Amritsar and the city’s outskirts to physically inspect vehicles. CRPF Jawans accompanied the police officers at the checkpoints.

Officials told IANS that the flag marches will be conducted in towns and cities in all districts.

A large contingent of the paramilitary force was stationed outside Amritpal Singh’s home village of Jallupur Khaira in Amritsar district in anticipation of a disturbance of the peace.

A special police team made up of personnel from seven districts had followed the separatist leader’s convoy as it made its way to Jalandhar’s Shahkot Tehsil on Saturday. They attacked his vehicle two or three times but Amritpal Singh managed to escape.

Section 144 was imposed in many counties across the state. The police have also increased security in the state. Also, all vehicles will be checked at the Punjab-Haryana border.

Amritpal’s father, Tarsem Singh, told the media police should have arrested him before he left home. “We have no information on his whereabouts. They searched our home for three to four hours but found nothing illegal.”

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He called the police action “unjustified” and said his son was weaning the youth off drugs. “Why didn’t the police take action against criminals and drug users?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal said the six Amritpal gunmen had been caught. “A manhunt for Amritpal Singh is ongoing and we hope he will be arrested soon. A total of 78 people have been arrested so far and further searches and raids are ongoing,” he added.

“During the nationwide operation, nine weapons have been recovered so far, including a .315 caliber rifle, seven 12 caliber rifles, a revolver and 373 live cartridges of various calibers,” police said in a statement on Twitter.

This post was last modified on March 19, 2023 11:52 am