New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday slammed the Punjab Police for not being able to catch radical preacher and Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh ever since he gave cops the slip Saturday afternoon.
“You have 80,000 cops. How did Amritpal Singh escape?” the court asked the state government. It also directed the police to submit a status report on the operation, remarking its intelligence network has failed so far.
The police launched a major crackdown on Singh and his followers in Jalandhar on Saturday, when he was on his way to attending a religious function. Officers tried to flag down Singh’s cavalcade at Shahkot naka but the “Waris De Punjab” chief managed to escape and has been on the run ever since. There are four major criminal cases against Singh, including those of abduction and attempted murder.
After Singh escaped, the state government switched off Internet and other mobile services to the entire population “for their safety”, while the police mounted a mammoth manhunt for the elusive preacher.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann thanked the “three crore” people of Punjab for cooperating in the operation to catch Amritpal Singh.
“People of Punjab want peace and progress,” Mann said, adding that the state’s peace and harmony and the country’s progress was his priority. “We will not spare any force working against the country,” he said.
Mann warned that strict action would be taken against anyone who tried to disturb peace and harmony in Punjab.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also said action had been taken against Singh’s associates. “They have been arrested and strict punishment would be given to them,” he said.
Of the 112 arrested so far, five – including Singh’s uncle Harjit Singh – are slapped with the stringent National Security Act and have been flown to Dibrugarh for interrogation.
The police have said Pakistan’s spy agency ISI has been behind the growth and popularity of Amritpal Singh, and has also instigated overseas Khalistan supporters to organise protests against India.
Meanwhile, the Centre has put on high alert the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal in case the ‘Waris De Punjab’ chief tries to slip through the international borders, particularly into Pakistan.
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