Punjab Police Says Manhunt On for Amritpal Singh, 78 Associates Arrested So Far

Amritpal Singh heads an organisation called Waris Punjab De, that has been founded by actor Deep Sidhu.

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The Punjab Police on Saturday, 18 March, arrested 78 persons connected with radical group Waris Punjab De and detained several others.

Meanwhile, the outfit's chief and separatist leader Amritpal Singh is on the run and there is currently a massive manhunt to take him into custody, the police said.

Earlier, there were reports citing police sources that Singh had been detained near Jalandhar's Nakodar after his cavalcade was intercepted by the police in the Mehatpur village.

Internet connection and SMS services have also been suspended across the state till 12 pm on 19 March.

Amritpal Singh had taken over Waris Punjab De soon after the death of actor Deep Sidhu, who had founded the organisation.

Singh had led a massive protest against the Punjab Police a few weeks ago after the arrest of his key aide Lovepreet Singh. His supporters had broken through barricades and barged into the Ajnala Police Station.

Police personnel from seven districts have been chasing Singh and his associates, and had surrounded him in Jalandhar's Mehatpur village, NDTV reported, quoting sources.

Several supporters of Singh were also seen taking out a protest march in Mohali against the police's actions.

'Internet Suspended To Avoid Communal Tension': Police

In its order stating that internet connection and SMS services were banned, the state home affairs department cited probable incitement to violence by certain people.

Arguing that some groups may try to "stoke and cause communal tension, obstruction or injury to persons, (and) danger to human life and property," the police said that all mobile internet services and SMS services will be suspended till 12 pm on Sunday in the interest of public safety.

The Punjab Police also took to Twitter to ask people to maintain peace and harmony. "Punjab Police is working to maintain Law & Order. Request citizens not to panic or spread fake news or hate speech," they said.

The police had filed cases against Singh and his supporters for alleged hate speech last week. Moreover, a man also told the police that the supporters of the radical preacher had allegedly kidnapped and beaten him, as per PTI.

(With inputs from NDTV and PTI.)

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