Fugitive pro-Khalistani preacher changed routes multiple times; his supporters on motorbikes divert cops
From changing routes multiple times to using supporters on motorbikes to divert the chasing Punjab Police personnel, the chief of pro Khalistani outfit Waris Punjab De, Amritpal Singh, has used various tricks to evade the police.
Sharing the details, Jalandhar Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Swapan Sharma said on Sunday, March 19, that the pro-Khalistani radical preacher changed his routes multiple times as police were chasing him.
“His car reached a one-lane link road of 12 to 13 km. There were six-seven motorbikes into which Amritpal Singh’s car crashed, probably helping him to escape. Some riders were to divert the cops,” DIG Sharma said.
Four people, including Amritpal Singh, were travelling in the car.
DIG Sharma said Amritpal Singh was first seen in the Shahkot area. “When his cavalcade was first intercepted, he took a U-turn and drove under a flyover leading to the one-lane link road,” he said.
DIG Sharma, however, refused to share details about whether the fugitive radical preacher is hiding in the state or if he had left it. “It is an intelligence-based operation and this information can’t be shared,” DIG Sharma said.
Earlier, in a massive crackdown on the pro Khalistani Waris Punjab De, Punjab Police arrested 78 people and detained many others, while its chief, Amritpal Singh, said to be linked to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, is on the run, it said on Saturday.
The operation was led by six Punjab cops – DGP Gaurav Yadav, ADG Pramod Ban, ADG Amit Prasad, Jalandhar Commissioner Kuldeep Chahal, IPS Swapan Sharma and Gurmeet Chauhan.
A massive manhunt has been launched to nab Amritpal, who became the head of the outfit after returning from Dubai last year, and his associates, the police said.
The state police said that it “launched a massive state-wide cordon and search operation in the state against elements of Waris Punjab De (WPD)”.
“On Saturday afternoon, several activities of the WPD were intercepted by the police at the Shahkot-Malsian road in Jalandhar district and seven persons were arrested on the spot. Several others, including Amritpal Singh, are on the run and a massive manhunt has been launched to nab them,” said a police spokesperson.
During the state-wide operation, nine weapons, including one .315 bore rifle, seven 12-caliber rifles, one revolver and 373 live cartridges of different calibres, have been recovered so far.
The spokesperson said, “WPD elements are involved in four criminal cases relating to spreading disharmony among classes, attempting to murder, attacking police personnel, and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duties of public servants.”
Amritpal shot into the limelight after hundreds of his sword-brandishing young supporters stormed the Ajnala police station in Amritsar, demanding the release of one of his key aides – Lovepreet Singh Tufan, who was arrested in a kidnapping case. They pushed police barricades and attacked policemen. At least six policemen were injured in the resulting clashes.
The police said that the crackdown was launched based on the FIR lodged in the Amritsar district for an attack on the Ajnala police station in February.
Born in 1993, Amritpal Singh dramatically rose to prominence in Punjab’s religiopolitical scene after returning from Dubai to become the chief of ‘Waris Punjab De’ after the death of its founder, actor Deep Sidhu, in a road accident last year.
Several reports quoting intelligence agencies said that he has been planted by Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to disturb peace and harmony in Punjab, which has been, by and large, peaceful after the killing of Khalistani militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in 1984.