‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh arrested from Punjab’s Moga under NSA; shifted to Assam’s Dibrugarh jail

‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh has been taken to Dibrugarh central jail in Assam after Punjab Police arrested him from the Rode village of Moga district on April 23

April 23, 2023 07:47 am | Updated 04:39 pm IST - Chandigarh

‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh arrested by Punjab Police from Moga district of Punjab, on April 23, 2023.

‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh arrested by Punjab Police from Moga district of Punjab, on April 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amritpal Singh, a pro-Khalistan propagator and the chief of Waris Punjab De (WPD) outfit, who is facing charges under the National Security Act (NSA) was arrested by Punjab Police from Moga on April 23. Amritpal’s arrest comes a month after the police launched a massive crackdown against him and his outfit.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill said Amritpal was arrested today at around 6.45 a.m. from Rode village in Moga district, following a special operation carried out in the past 35 days. Rode is the native village of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the militant leader who was killed in 1984.

‘NSA warrants executed today’

“... NSA warrants were issued against Amritpal Singh, which has been executed today morning. Amritpal has been arrested by Police at around 6:45 in the morning (April 23) at Rode village in Moga district. Further law will take its own course,” said Mr. Gill at a press conference in Chandigarh.

Mr. Gill said Amritpal was absconding for around one month. “A special operation was launched by Amritsar Police and the Intelligence wing of Punjab police to nab him. He was located in Rode village based on operational inputs received by the police. The village was then surrounded. He was inside a Gurdwara, the police, however, didn’t enter the Gurdwara to maintain its sanctity... Amritpal knew he couldn’t escape, he was then arrested and has been sent to Dibrugarh (Assam) under NSA,” said Mr. Gill.

 ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh at a Gurudwara in Moga district. Punjab Police arrested Singh from Moga on April 23, 2023.

‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh at a Gurudwara in Moga district. Punjab Police arrested Singh from Moga on April 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid reports about Amritpal’s surrender, Mr. Gill said “Amritpal Singh was arrested based on operational inputs. There was no escape route left for him. He was arrested.”

Shifted to Dibrugarh jail in Assam amid tight security

A special flight carrying Amritpal Singh landed at Dibrugarh airport from where he will taken to the Central Jail located in the Upper Assam town, officials said.

Singh was flown in the special flight from Bathinda after his arrest by Punjab Police earlier in the day, they said.

“His flight landed at 2:20 p.m. After necessary formalities, he will be taken to Dibrugarh Central Jail in a security convoy,” a senior official told PTI.

A multi-tier security arrangement has been made at the Central Jail in Dibrugarh where Amritpal will be lodged, a senior police official said.

The Dibrugarh Traffic Police, too, has been alerted for road clearance from the airport to the prison, a 15-km stretch.

“The jail compound has been surrounded by Assam Police’s elite Black Cat Commandos, CRPF and other security personnel,” he said.

Singh was arrested by the Punjab Police around 6:45 a.m. from Rode village in the northern State, after remaining absconding for more than a month.

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, Punjab Police Inspector General Sukhchain Singh Gill said Amritpal Singh would be taken to Dibrugarh under the National Security Act (NSA).

Nine of Amritpal’s aides including Daljit Singh Kalsi, Papalpreet Singh, Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal, Varinder Singh Johal, Gurmeet Singh Bukkanwala, Harjit Singh, Bhagwant Singh, Basant Singh and Gurinderpal Singh Aujla have been lodged in Dibrugarh jail under the NSA.

Security in and around the jail premises have been beefed up since March 19, when four members of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ (WPD) were brought here in the first batch.

Also read | Amritpal Singh's wife, fleeing to U.K., detained at Amritsar airport

Amritpal’s rise to fame or notoriety started last year when was anointed as the head of the ‘Waris Punjab De’, a social organisation established by actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu, who actively participated in the year-long farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws drafted by the Centre and raised Punjab-centric issues. He died in a road accident in February last year.

Month-long manhunt for Amritpal

On March 18, the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against Amritpal and members of his outfit. The Punjab Police had invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against the Khalistan sympathizer. The action came almost over three weeks after Amritpal’s supporters stormed Ajnala police station in Amritsar on February 23, demanding the release of one of his aides, Lovepreet Toofan. The protesters carried a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, as a shield.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Punjab caved into the demand, but the incident acted as a trigger, following which the Punjab police launched a coordinated crackdown against pro-Khalistan propagator Amritpal Singh.

Amritpal has been facing cases under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) regarding spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants. He had been on the run for over more than a month, after he gave the police the slip on March 18 when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district. The 30-year-old is booked in at least a half dozen criminal cases.

The year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab has been facing flak over the poor law and order situation and is being seen on the back foot after the police failed to arrest Amritpal following the crackdown against him and all those trying to disturb the law and order in the State.

Listen: What Amritpal Singh’s rise spells for Punjab | In Focus podcast

(With PTI inputs)

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