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Where is Amritpal Singh? 5 Things We Know So Far and What Could Happen Next

Punjab police claims that the hunt for Amritpal Singh is continuing. But his uncle claims he's already been detained

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The Punjab Police claims that the hunt for Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh continues on 20 March. Meanwhile his uncle Harjit Singh and driver have surrendered to the police. The big question still remains - where is Amritpal Singh?

Here's what we know and what we need more information on.

1. 112 Arrests As of Sunday Night

According to a press release issued by the Punjab police, 34 people were arrested on 19 March in addition to 78 arrested earlier, taking the total to 112.

According to the police, four aides of Amritpal Singh have been taken to Dibrugarh in Assam. They are actor Daljit Kalsi, known to be close to the late actor Deep Sidhu, Basant Singh, Gurmeet Singh Bhukhanwala and Bhagwant Singh.

They have all been booked under the National Security Act.

Amritpal Singh's uncle Harjit Singh and driver surrendered in the early hours of Monday morning. Harjit Singh, too, is being taken to Assam.

The police also said that it has recovered an ISUZU vehicle from Mehatpur village in Jalandhar district. The vehicle was allegedly used by Amritpal Singh. The abandoned vehicle had a .315 bore rifle, 57 live cartridges and a walkie talkie, the police said.

It is not clear how many of these 112 are connected with Waris Punjab De.

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Among those arrested include Harpal Singh Baler of Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar and farm activist Navdeep Jalbera, whose proximity with Amritpal Singh isn't entirely clear.

2. Amritpal Singh's Status Unclear

The police has said that it is on the lookout for Amritpal Singh.

Punjab minister Balbir Singh told the media, "If he (Amritpal Singh) will be arrested then he (DGP) will inform you".

However, Amritpal's uncle Harjit Singh claimed in an interview to journalist Rattanpal Singh Dhaliwal that the Waris Punjab De chief may have already been detained. He believes that Amritpal could be among the individuals taken by the police to Assam. However, the police's disclosure of names of those taken to Assam, rules out this possibility.

Waris Punjab De's legal advisor Imaan Singh Khara has filed a Habeus Corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that Amritpal Singh had been illegally detained and demanding that he should be presented in court.

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3. Restrictions Extended

On 20 March, the Punjab government extended the ban on mobile internet, dongle services and SMSes for another day, till noon on 21 March.

The government claims this has been done to prevent 'mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators'.

4. Twitter Accounts Withheld

Twitter accounts of Sangrur MP Simranjit Singh Mann and journalists Gagandeep Singh and Kamaldeep Singh Brar have been withheld in India due to a demand from the government. It is not clear whether this has been done by the central or state government.

Simranjit Mann had slammed the crackdown against Amritpal Singh.

Gagandeep Singh and Kamaldeep Singh Brar had been providing timely updates on the Amritpal Singh case on their Twitter timelines. Brar is with the Indian Express.

It is not clear why their accounts have been withheld.

A number of social media accounts from Punjab have also been banned in the past two days.

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5. Centre and State Government Working in Tandem

There seems to be some degree of coordination between the Centre and Punjab government regarding the entire operation. This is evident by the manner in which the Gurugram police conducted raids to arrest Amritpal's aide Daljit Singh Kalsi and of course, how four detainees were taken to Assam.

This wouldn't have been possible without the central government's cooperation.

What Happens Next?

It all depends on where Amritpal Singh is. The longer his whereabouts are not known, the more the uncertainty may continue in Punjab, including the internet restrictions.

Given that this is a state with a history of forced disappearances and encounters, there are bound to be concerns regarding Amritpal Singh's safety and this explains the Habeus Corpus petition.

So far, the Punjab government has managed to contain any major mobilisation through restrictions on internet and movement. But there is no doubt some unease among Amritpal Singh's supporters and even those who may not support his politics but oppose the crackdown.

The Akal Takht, SGPC and leaders in the Sikh diaspora have already raised concerns over the crackdown.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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