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Day 4 of manhunt: Amritpal Singh still absconding as NSA slapped on aides

Punjab, Haryana HC urges state to respond to habeas corpus on the preacher

PTI03_20_2023_000226A Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel flag march amid crackdown against 'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh and his aides, in Jalandhar | PTI

As the manhunt for Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh enters the fourth day, all four aides of the radical preacher have been moved to the central jail in Assam's Dibrugarh. This comes as the Punjab police invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against Amritpal's aides, including his uncle Harjit Singh.

The NSA allows the police to detain suspects in any prison across the country. Police said Harjit Singh helped his nephew gain control over the accounts of Waris Punjab De.

Besides Harjit Singh, Daljit Singh Kalsi, Bhagwant Singh, Gurmeet Singh and 'Pradhanmantri' Bajeka have also been moved to Assam.

Punjab Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill told reporters on Monday that specialised units are involved in the efforts to nab the preacher. Upon his arrest, Amritpal too will be detained under the NSA. "It can be invoked against him once he is arrested, and the rest of the facts will be made clear to you," he said.

He added there is a strong suspicion of an ISI angle and foreign funding against those arrested in this case, and further investigations are underway.

Plea in Punjab, Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the State Government and its police force to reply to the habeas corpus petition seeking to produce Waris Punjab De chief, Amritpal Singh, on Tuesday. 

To the order from Justice NS Shekhawat, IG Gill said the police will present the facts before the court. "The preacher is still not in the custody of the police, he said. What we have done in this case is as per the law," he added.

ISI behind UK, US protests

There are official reports that hint that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is now instigating overseas Khalistan supporters to organise protests and demonstrations abroad including in London, San Francisco and Canberra in support of Amritpal Singh.

A report by PTI quoting unnamed officials said the overseas protests were the desperate attempt by the ISI to build followership of Amritpal who has been hiding from the Punjab Police for the last three days. All these acts by the pro-Khalistan elements were orchestrated by ISI agents operating in different countries, the officials said.

Last week, the Honorary Consulate of India in Australia's Brisbane city was forced to close down due to safety concerns after Khalistan supporters organised an unauthorised gathering and blocked entry to the office. Several Hindu temples in Melbourne were also vandalised by Khalistan supporters in recent months.

Canada has also seen a rise in anti-India activities recently by Khalistani supporters who have vandalised some Hindu temples.


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