For the second day in a row, radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, who has dodged police for last 13 days, released a video on YouTube, saying he will not surrender.
The 30-year-old separatist, who styles himself after the Sikh terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, went missing following a police crackdown against him and members of his pro-Khalistan ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit on March 18, about three weeks after he and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested man.
The Jathedar of Akal Takht (the highest temporal seat of Sikhs) has asked fugitive Amritpal Singh to surrender before police and cooperate with investigation.
Last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court slammed the Punjab police and questioned how Amritpal Singh could give them the slip repeatedly.
“You have 80,000 cops. What were they doing. How did Amritpal Singh escape?” the High Court asked the Punjab government, calling it an intelligence failure.
The Punjab government on Tuesday told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they are close to catching Amritpal Singh.
On Monday, a new picture of Amritpal Singh with his key aide Papalpreet Singh surfaced on social media. Officials said the picture was taken a day after the police operation against the radical Sikh preacher began.
According to official sources, Amritpal Singh has been maintaining close links with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and some terrorist groups based abroad, news agency PTI reported.
The radical preacher is believed to be close to UK-based Khalistani terrorist Avtar Singh Khanda and he is believed to be a key factor behind his rise to prominence. He was allegedly building a “private militia” of youth from drug deaddiction centres, to be used for violent protests.
Amritpal Singh and his associates have been charged under several criminal cases related to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants.