The National Security Act (NSA) warrants were executed on Sunday with the arrest of pro-Khalistan propagator Amritpal Singh after over a month-long chase, Punjab Police Inspector General of Police Sukhchain Singh Gill said.
Refuting claims of Amritpal’s sympathisers that he surrendered after paying obeisance at a Sikh shrine in the native village of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was killed in the Indian Army’s Operation Blue Star in 1984, Gill, in a first official reaction, told the media here: “NSA warrants were issued against Amritpal Singh and those warrants have been executed today morning… Amritpal Singh has been arrested by Punjab Police around 6.45 a.m. today morning from village Rode.”
Amritpal Singh has been on the run since March 18 after the state police launched a massive crackdown against him.
He was categorically clear in saying that the police had intelligence inputs about the presence of Amritpal Singh in Rode village and a joint operation was conducted successfully.
“We had special inputs that Amritpal Singh was present in Rode village, he was surrounded and had no chance to escape.”
Without mincing words, Gill said the police maintained the sanctity and did not enter the gurdwara where he was hiding and convinced him to surrender before the police.
“I want to clarify that he was arrested and did not surrender. Today’s operation was based on concrete and credible inputs. I want to thank people of Punjab for maintaining peace and communal harmony. NSA invoked, he is taken to Dibrugarh jail in Assam.”
In a video taken shortly before he was arrested, Amritpal Singh justified his decision to evade the Punjab police, stating that the last one month “exposed” the real face of the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government. “I may be an accused in the court but not an accused in the court of Almighty,” he said.
IANS doesn’t however, authenticate the video’s origin and timing.
Bhindranwale’s nephew Jasvir Rode told the media Amritpal Singh had informed police last night itself that he will surrender Sunday morning after paying obeisance at the Gurdwara Janam Asthan Sant Khalsa.
In September last year, Amritpal Singh dastar bandi (turban tying) ceremony was held at Rode village, marking his official installation as the head of Waris Punjab De.
Before his arrest, his close aide Papalpreet Singh was arrested in Amritsar on April 10 under the NSA and six other cases have also been registered against him.