New Delhi/IBNS: Amritpal Singh, the self-styled radical preacher, who is referred to by his supporters as the new version of Khalistani separatist and terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was chased and arrested by the Punjab Police on Saturday near Punjab’s Jalandhar.
Ahead of the operation, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann had met Home Minister Amit Shah on March 2 and reportedly discussed the plan to nab the separatist leader, NDTV reported citing sources.
Mann had also tweeted about the meeting, saying that the Centre and the state have decided to work together on the issues of law and order in the state.
The leader of Waris De Punjab has been active in Punjab for a few years after he was made the chief of the radical organisation founded by actor and Khalistan sympathiser Deep Sandhu.
"Today, after meeting the Union Home Minister @AmitShah. We discussed the issue of drones and drugs on the border... The issue of shifting the barbed wire on the border was also discussed... Asked to release Punjab's stalled rural development fund soon... Center-Punjab will work together on the issue of law and order," read a translation of the tweet.
The self-styled radical Sikh preacher, who is often seen accompanied by armed supporters, had been absconding. However, the Punjab Police zeroed in on him and arrested him while he was on the run and trying to reach his native village Jallupur Khaira.
On February 23, a massive protest occurred in support of Amritpal Singh's key aide, Lovepreet Singh, who had been arrested on charges of kidnapping. Amritpal Singh was at the center of the protest, during which his supporters, some of whom were armed with swords and guns, broke through barricades and stormed a police station on the outskirts of Amritsar city in Ajnala. They then secured a guarantee from the police that Lovepreet Singh would be released. Amritpal Singh subsequently held the Punjab Police responsible for the violence.
Six police personnel, including a Superintendent of Police rank officer, were injured during the clash.
Ahead of the operation, the Central government sent additional forces to Punjab prior to the police's search for the radical preacher today. The plan was to detain the preacher after the conclusion of the G20 meetings in the state, which occurred yesterday, according to the NDTV report.
Amritpal Singh's case has highlighted a persistent problem in Punjab, where radicals like him, with the backing of a large support base, create challenges for law enforcement officials.
Amritpal Singh claims to be a follower of the terrorist Bhindranwale and has made controversial speeches in the past few months. He is married to a UK-based non-resident Indian, Kirandeep Kaur.