Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh on the run, 78 held in state-wide crackdown

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Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh is on the run as the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against the radical preacher Amritpal and his supporters over charges of spreading communal tension in the state.

Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu

Chandigarh,UPDATED: Mar 18, 2023 22:03 IST

Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh.

By Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu: Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh is on the run as the Punjab Police launched a state-wide crackdown on elements of Waris Punjab De on Saturday. The police have arrested 78 people on charges of spreading communal tension in the state.

Earlier in the day, there were reports that Amritpal Singh, who led a massive protest in Amritsar against the arrest of his close aide Lovepreet Toofan recently, was detained, but the Punjab Police neither confirmed or denied whether Singh was apprehended or not.

Later, the Punjab Police said several people, including Amritpal Singh, were on the run and a massive manhunt was launched to nab them.

Meanwhile, internet services in various districts of the state will remain suspended till Sunday noon to prevent circulation of rumours and possible tension.

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"During the state-wide 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," the police said in a statement.

The police also said Waris Punjab De elements are involved in four criminal cases relating to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police officers and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of people's duties of public servants.

"An FIR was registered for the attack on Ajnala Police Station," the police said.

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Amritpal Singh gained prominence last month when a case was registered against him and six of his associates based on a complaint by a man who alleged that he was kidnapped and beaten by the associates of the Khalistan leader. The police later arrested Lovepreet Singh Toofan, a close associate of Amritpal Singh.

The arrest of Toofan prompted Amritpal to issue a warning to the police to revoke the case against him. Soon, hundreds of his supporters broke through police barricades and stormed the police complex, armed with automatic guns and sharp weapons.

Toofan was released under pressure but only after the police informed the court that they would be investigating the matter further. During the incident, six policemen suffered injuries.

Published On:

Mar 18, 2023