As Amritpal remains elusive, Akal Takht chief priest raises question over Punjab Police ability

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal backs Punjab government over law and order situation in State

Published - March 25, 2023 10:51 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Seven associates of ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh being brought to Baba Bakala court amid tight security, near Amritsar, on March 23, 2023.

Seven associates of ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh being brought to Baba Bakala court amid tight security, near Amritsar, on March 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

As pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh remained elusive almost a week after a crackdown began against him and his outfit, Waris Punjab De, Giani Harpreet Singh, chief priest of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, on Saturday raised question over the ability of the Punjab Police.

Mr. Harpreet Singh said a pertinent question was bound to rise about why the police had not been able to arrest Mr. Amritpal so far. “It certainly raises questions over their ability and working. Besides, if the government has arrested him then it should clarify the situation. Also, I would ask Amritpal that if he is at large then he should come forward and cooperate with the investigation,” Mr. Harpreet Singh said.

He said it was unfortunate that the police had arrested several youngsters from their homes and also blocked social media accounts of some journalists. “If any youth had shared something on Facebook or just wrote a comment, to take them into custody and spoil their career is not correct. Punjab government should stop it,” he said.

44 released

On Friday, the police released as many as 44 persons who were taken into preventive custody during the ongoing operation against those trying to disturb law and order in the State. Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Arpit Shukla said in the larger interest of the public and keeping in view that youngsters should not suffer, the police had decided to release those persons who had a “minimum role” or were just following Mr. Amritpal for religious sentiments.

The police have arrested 207 persons for disturbing peace and harmony in the State, of which 30 were found to be involved in substantive criminal activities. The remaining were under preventive arrest, the police said.

Tough decisions

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal praised the State government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on the law and order situation in Punjab.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Guru Ravidas Bani Study Centre at Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar, Mr. Kejriwal said in the past few days, some people tried to vitiate the atmosphere of Punjab, but the government did not allow anyone to disturb peace.

He said sometimes tough decisions had to be taken to maintain law and order and the AAP government led by Mr. Mann was capable of taking such decisions. Mr. Kejriwal said the Punjab government had handled the situation very well and it was brought under control without firing a single bullet or shedding blood.

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