As police continue to hunt Amritpal Singh (a separatist leader who supports Khalistan’s bid for a separate Sikh homeland), the state of Punjab in India is on alert.
The 30-year-old is on the run since Saturday, and his supporters protested in the majority Sikh state over the weekend.
According to the Punjab Police India Twitter account, 112 people were arrested thus far.
They claimed that a vehicle, allegedly used in the chase by Singh through a rural Jalandhar area, was seized.
The state’s search for Singh has had a huge impact on its entire population. CNN and the Times of India reported that the authorities blocked internet access for the third day.
According to reports, police justified the shut down by claiming it was necessary to maintain peace and stop the spread of fake information.
India has banned the Khalistan movement and its affiliated groups. Officials consider them a national security risk.
The movement has some support in the United States, Canada, and other countries that are home to large Sikh diasporas.
After Singh’s supporters stormed the police station in February demanding the release an aide who was being held hostage, the crackdown follows.
Numerous police officers sustained injuries and their vehicles were damaged.
After a crowd incident that saw windows being smashed at the Indian High Commission London, a man was taken into custody on suspicion of violent disorder.
Social media footage showed a man removing the Indian flag from the first floor balcony while people below waved bright yellow “Khalistan” banners to encourage him.
Amritpal Singh is who?
Amritpal Singh, a 30-year-old leader of Waris Punjab De (Heirs of Punjab), is Amritpal Singh.
Although not much is known about his childhood, he did move to Dubai in 2012 to start his family’s transportation business.
He came back to India in 2022 to take over leadership of the group from the actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu who died in a car accident.
Sidhu was believed to have led a group of farmers who stormed the Red Fort in Delhi during the Republic Day of 2022, just before his death. Sidhu was detained for his actions and spent several months in prison.
Singh, upon his return to Punjab, changed his appearance by wearing a blue turban and traditional robes. He also has a long, unshorn beard.
Singh was accused of using hate speech, and his armed support have been accused violence.
He has spoken out about his support of Khalistan, a separatist movement that calls for a separate homeland/country to people of Sikh faith. His Twitter account was also suspended by authorities, who are closely monitoring his activities.
Although they are believed to have been supporters of the Sikh separatist movement, Tariq Ahmad, the UK foreign minister, said that he was shocked by the incident.
He tweeted, “This is an unacceptable act against the integrity Mission and its staff.” “The UK government will never take security at the Indian High Commission lightly.”