Amritpal Singh evades capture for second day, heightened security alert in Punjab
Amritpal Singh, a hardline preacher and supporter of Khalistan, was the target of a stepped-up search by Punjab police on Sunday. In addition, security officers marched in flags around the state and restrictions on mobile internet and SMS services were extended till Monday noon.
Daljit Singh Kalsi, who is believed to have advised and provided funds for Amritpal, along with three other people who were also detained on Saturday were brought from Punjab to Assam on a "special aircraft," according to the police. They are now being held at the Dibrugarh Central Prison.
Top Punjab police officials said that the law and order situation is under control and threatened harsh punishment for anybody spreading rumours. They added that the force was keeping an eye out for hate speech and false news coming from other nations, states, and cities.
They predicted that Amritpal would be apprehended shortly and denied that there had been any oversight when, on Saturday, he managed to escape the security dragnet after a raid on the organisation "Waris Punjab De" (WPD), which he leads.
A day after 78 members of the WPD were detained, they claimed that Amritpal and several of his friends were the targets of a new FIR in Amritsar and two cases against him in Jalandhar.
Kalsi was one of four people escorted to Dibrugarh by a 27-member team from Punjab, which is governed by the AAP, along with Bhagwant Singh, Gurmeet Singh, and Pradhanmantri Bajeka, according to an Assam Police official.
No official, however, was ready to explain why they were transported almost 2,500 miles to Assam, which is governed by the BJP.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, told reporters when he was in New Delhi that his state will provide the accused in custody the required protection.
"These people are sometimes transferred to the prison of another state after being detained in one state. According to what I know, the Punjab Police has deployed four persons. We'll give them all jailhouse security, "said he.
Security forces conducted flag marches in many locations, including Ferozepur, Bathinda, Rupnagar, Faridkot, Batala, Fazilka, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Moga, and Jalandhar, as a result of Punjab being placed on high alert.
Haryana, a neighbouring state, increased its vehicle inspections along the Punjabi border as well.
Officials said that more police officers have been deployed and that extra checks have been set up at the Shambhu border.
Police are also keeping a tight check in a number of other districts as well, including Kurukshetra, Kaithal, and Sirsa, which share borders with Punjab.
Amritpal's father, meantime, worried that his son had already been arrested by the authorities.
"Since yesterday, there has been no information regarding him. Yet, we suspect that he has been imprisoned "said he.
Amritpal is still at large, according to Inspector General of Police Sukhchain Singh Gill of the Punjab Police.
"Punjab police are operating legally. Police had set up a "naka" yesterday close to Mehatpur, where Amritpal had run away. Whatever the Punjab Police do in this situation, it would be legal." "Everyone has a legal right, and they are free to use any available legal remedies. Amritpal is currently wanted in this situation. The search is under on, but he has not yet been detained, according to Gill.
According to Jalandhar Police Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal, Amritpal would be taken into custody shortly.
Chahal said that it cannot be referred to be a "lapse" when asked how the extreme preacher managed to flee.
It's a 'chor and police' game. They sometimes succeed in escaping. But we'll capture him shortly," he promised.
"His car was pursued for 20 to 25 kilometres. As there were tight roadways and he (his car) was at the front, he was obviously at an advantage. Still, he managed to escape by switching to another vehicle, the guy added.
When Amritpal's cavalcade was stopped in the Jalandhar area, he gave the police a slip.
Satinder Singh, the senior superintendent of police for Amritsar Rural, said that seven of Amritpal's colleagues were detained on Saturday night in accordance with the Arms Act and other other laws.
"Last night, we filed a brand-new FIR under the Guns Act, and Amritpal is the main culprit. Also, all seven are charged in this new FIR "He informed the Amritsar media.
Two FIRs were filed in Jalandhar against Amritpal Singh and his friends in relation to the discovery of a firearm in a car and the circumvention of police checkpoints.
According to Swapan Sharma, the deputy inspector general of police for the Jalandhar range, a FIR was filed on Sunday after the discovery of a firearm and many live rounds of ammunition inside a vehicle that was a part of Amritpal's convoy on Saturday.
The abandoned vehicle was discovered by police on Sunday in Salema village in Jalandhar's Shahkot.
Amritpal and his companions burst through police barriers in Jalandhar on Saturday, leading to the filing of the second complaint, he said.