As Khalistan ideologue and Waris Punjab De head Amritpal Singh continued to evade arrest for the fourth day, the Punjab Police on Tuesday released his photographs with seven different looks, while appealing everyone to come forward to help them in arresting the self-proclaimed preacher.
The move came after the investigations revealed that Amritpal went to Nangal Ambian gurdwara and changed into a trouser and a shirt there, following which he, along with three others, escaped on two motorcycles.
The police have also invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against Amritpal, who had been declared a fugitive by the state police. The police have also initiated an all-out manhunt, besides coordinating with other states in nabbing the Khalistan sympathizer.
“A lookout circular (LOC) and non-bailable warrant (NBW) has been issued against Amritpal Singh, who remains a fugitive and efforts are being made to arrest him. Punjab Police are getting full cooperation from other states and central agencies in this action,” said Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP), Headquarters, Sukhchain Singh Gill, while briefing the media on Tuesday evening.
“We have released several pictures of Amritpal Singh in different attires and looks as there is every possibility that Amritpal would have changed his look to evade arrest…We are releasing all of these pictures. I request you (referring to the media) to display them so that people can help us to arrest him in this case…I appeal to everyone to come forward to help the police in arresting him,” he said.
IGP Gill said that the interrogation of his four aides, who were arrested on Tuesday earlier in the day, “we got to know that Amritpal Singh stayed in a Nangal Ambia gurdwara where he changed his clothing to pant-shirt, and then he, along with three others, fled on two motorcycles”.
The IGP narrated the entire sequence of events of how the Khalistani preacher gave the police a slip. Also, several CCTV footage have surfaced corroborating the police claim.
As per the preliminary investigations, Amritpal managed to evade the police dragnet in Mehatpur’s busy market by shifting from his Mercedes to Brezza car, along with his four aides. The police on Tuesday recovered the Brezza car from the residence of one Manpreet Singh alias Mann, who was also arrested along with three others who helped Amritpal in the escape at Mehatpur.
“From Mehatpur, they all went to a gurdwara in Nangal Ambia where Amritpal changed his attire. They were four people — Amritpal and three others — they fled on two motorcycles,” added the IGP.
“Four accused who helped Amritpal escape have been arrested. A .315 bore rifle, some swords, and walkie-talkie has been recovered from the Brezza car,” IGP Gill said.
“Those arrested for helping Amritpal to flee from Mehatpur include Manpreet Singh alias Manna (28) of Nawan Killa village of Shahkot; Gurdeep Singh alias Deepa of Bal Naun in Nakodar; Harpreet Singh alias Happy (36) of Kotla Nodh Singh village of Bullowal in Hoshiarpur; and Gurbhej Singh alias Bheja of Goindara village of Faridkot,” he said adding that three more people accompanying the wanted preacher to flee from Nangal Ambian Gurdwara are still absconding.
CCTV footage, which has come across, shows Amritpal getting out of a Brezza. Two motorcyclists are spotted next to the car in which he was travelling. The video shows Amritpal getting on one of the two bikes. Both the bikes immediately leave the spot with the preacher riding pillion on one of them.
IGP Gill said that Police teams have also arrested and detained Kulwant Singh Raoke of Raoke village in Moga; and Gurinderpal Singh alias Guri Aujla of Kapurthala under the National Security Act.
An arrest warrant has been issued against Amritpal under the NSA. The police have already invoked NSA against his seven aides, including his uncle Harjit Singh. They all have been taken to Dibrugarh in Assam citing security concerns.
As per intelligence inputs, Amritpal was offered money by Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI during his stay in Dubai. He was paid as part of a conspiracy to revive militancy in Punjab. He was sent to Georgia to be trained by ISI before returning to India.
Punjab Police also maintained that Amritpal was trying to raise his own militia called ‘Anandpur Khalsa Fauj’. The cops found bulletproof jackets and guns from his residence with initials AKF written on it.
The police maintained that the preacher was helped by his uncle, Harjit Singh, to take over the reins of ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit after its founder Deep Sidhu died in a road accident last year.
Amritpal Booked Under NSA
Punjab Government on Tuesday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the National Security Act has been invoked against absconding Waris Punjab De head Amritpal Singh. The state’s response came to a habeas corpus plea seeking Amritpal’s production.
Waris Punjab De legal adviser Iman Singh Khara, in his petition, demanded Amritpal’s “release”, claiming that he was in the “illegal custody” of the police.
During the hearing, the Court questioned Punjab Police on how Amritpal Singh escaped even as there was heightened security in view of the G20 Summit in Amritsar. “When there were five-six FIRs and you are saying there are five-six criminal cases against him, how did he manage to escape? What were 80,000 cops doing?” the Bench of Justice NS Shekhawat observed, referring to Punjab Government’s submissions.
Earlier, the state’s Advocate-General Vinod Ghai informed the Court that Amritpal was not in police custody and had been declared a fugitive. Ghai said that NSA had been invoked against Amritpal and his role is being probed in five criminal cases.
“There are certain details that can’t be revealed in an open court,” said the AG, adding that the search for the radical Sikh leader was on.
Amritpal’s father Tarsem Singh also appeared before the Court and tried to address it. However, the Court said that he was not a party before it and if he wanted to submit something, he should first file an application.
The Court deferred the hearing for a week and sought a fresh affidavit from the government.
Amritpal’s Uncle, Driver Booked for Trespassing
In fresh development, Amritpal Singh, his uncle Harjit Singh, and their driver Harpreet Singh have been booked for trespass and wrongful confinement on the complaint of a sarpanch (village head), who was held hostage while cops were on their trail on Saturday.
IGP Gill informed that the Jalandhar Rural Police has registered a fresh First Information Report (FIR) against Amritpal’s uncle Harjit Singh of Kallu Kheda in Amritsar and his driver Harpreet Singh of Madoke village in Moga for trespassing and taking shelter for two days at the house of sarpanch Manpreet Singh of Uddowal village in Mehatpur, Jalandhar, on a gunpoint.
“Both the accused persons had come in their Mercedes car (HR72E1818). An FIR, dated March 20, 2023, has been registered under sections 449, 342, 506 and 34 of IPC and sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act at Police Station Mehatpur,” he said.
The case was registered under Sections 449 (house-trespass to commit offence punishable with death), 342 (wrongful confinement), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, besides other sections of the Arms Act.
Harjit and Harpreet, who surrendered before the police a day before, had taken shelter in the sarpanch’s house after Amritpal gave the police the slip in a busy Mehatpur market on Saturday afternoon.
3 More Aides Shifted To Assam
Three more associates of radical preacher Amritpal Singh, including his uncle Harjit Singh, have been shifted to the high security Dibrugarh jail on Tuesday. With this, a total seven members, linked to Amritpal Singh’s ‘Waris Punjab De’ (WPD), have been shifted to Assam.
Two aides — Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal and Gurinder Pal Singh — were sent to Assam by a flight from Delhi and whisked to the Dibrugarh Central Jail amidst tight security, where Harjit was moved to the Dibrugarh jail by road from Guwahati earlier.
A cavalcade of seven security vehicles took Harjit Singh from the Guwahati airport to the Dibrugarh Central Jail where he was lodged at 7.10 am, the official said.
Harjit Singh, who officials say helped his nephew gain control over the accounts of WPD, is among the five people slapped with the National Security Act (NSA), which allows the preventive detention of anyone who could threaten national security or public order.
Earlier on Sunday, four WPD members — Daljit Singh Kalsi, Bhagwant Singh, Gurmeet Singh and ‘Pradhanmantri’ Bajeka — were brought to Dibrugarh Central Jail after the Punjab Government on Saturday began a major crackdown on the outfit, headed by Amritpal Singh, who is wanted in several criminal cases.
Dharna on Mohali Airport Road Lifted
The dharna by the supporters of self-styled Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh was finally lifted on Tuesday, as the Mohali district police cleared the airport road for vehicular movement. The siege had been in place since Saturday evening when the Punjab Police began their operation against the Waris Punjab De chief and his aides.
“The protest at Mohali has also been lifted. Total 37 persons have been taken into preventive custody,” said IGP Gill.
A police officer sustained minor injuries while uninstalling the tents erected by the protesters on Monday. Minor scuffles were also reported between the police and the protesters during the action. Apart from the district police, the 82 reserved battalion of Punjab police was also pressed into service.
The police detained at least several protesters and took them to the Sohana police station in a bus and pick-up vans. They recovered sticks, iron rods, and swords from the protesters.
The protesters were sitting in front of Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan in Sohana as they demanded clarity on Amritpal and the release of his aides nabbed during the statewide crackdown.
Mohali Deputy Commissioner Aashika Jain said that they were receiving complaints from the locals and the resident welfare associations about the inconvenience the protest was causing. The law and order situation was under control, she added.
Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dr Sandeep Garg said that the people should not believe in rumours.