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Fugitive preacher Amritpal Singh arrested in Moga, says Punjab Police

Amritpal Singh was on the run since March 18 after the Punjab police launched a crackdown following storming of the Ajnala police station by his supporters to secure release of an arrested associate

(File Photo) Khalistani leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh as police launch an operation to arrest Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, on Saturday.

(File Photo) Khalistani leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh as police launch an operation to arrest Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, on Saturday.

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Wanted fugitive Amritpal Singh has been arrested from Punjab's Moga district, the Punjab Police informed in a tweet on Sunday. Amritpal has been on the run since March 18. 

In February, Amritpal and his supporters barged into the Ajnala police station near Amritsar, extracting an assurance that an arrested man would be released. Since then Singh, who claims to be a follower of the Khalistani separatist and terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, has been labelled as a pro-Khalistan and the Punjab police launched a crackdown following the storming of the Ajnala police station.

Confirming the arrest, Punjab Police asked people to maintain peace and not spread fake news. "Amritpal Singh arrested in Moga, Punjab. Further details will be shared by Punjab Police. Urge citizens to maintain peace and harmony, Don't share any fake news, always verify and share," police tweeted.

Amritpal Singh is being shifted to Assam's Dibrugarh, where eight of his aides are already being held under the National Security Act, which allows detention up to a year without any charge.

The Chief of Waris Punjab De is facing a number of charges along with his associates. Several criminal cases related to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants are registered against him.

The latest charge against Amritpal Singh was filed under the Arms Act after a large stock of guns was found from his aides. According to official sources, he has maintained close connections with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and several terrorist groups headquartered abroad, news agency PTI reported. 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah praised the Punjab government for its crackdown on Amritpal Singh. 

"There is no wave (of Khalistan). Many times, some people try, but the governments have done their job. The Punjab government has done a good job, the Centre has supported. We are monitoring the situation closely," Shah said while speaking at a media conclave in Benguluru.

Dubai returned Amritpal Singh took over as chief of Waris Punjab De in September 2022, after its founder Deep Sidhu passed away. 

"Waris Punjab De" was started by lawyer-turned-actor Deep Sidhu in September 2021, before the Punjab Assembly elections. Sidhu started the organisation as a pressure group to protect and fight for the rights of Punjab and raise social issues. 

Deep Sidhu came to limlight during a farmers' protest in 2020. Delhi Police later booked him for his alleged role in the violence on Republic Day in 2021 at Red Fort. 

However, Deep Sidhu's family has denied any links with saying they never appointed him as the chief of their son's organisation and had no idea how he took over as "Waris Punjab De" head.

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First Published: Apr 23 2023 | 7:47 AM IST

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