Security alert in Indian state of Punjab as police attempt to arrest Sikh leader

NEW DELHI: The Indian state of Punjab was on high security on Sunday as police launched a manhunt to arrest a Sikh leader.

Punjab Police said on Saturday they had arrested 78 people in a “mega-raid” against the Waris Punjab De (Heirs of Punjab) organization, which is run by 30-year-old Amritpal Singh, whom the Indian media has labeled a radical preacher and sympathizers have described an independent “Khalistan” state.

Amritpal escaped a police chase on Saturday while many of its employees were arrested.

Nine firearms were seized during the operation, police said.

Mobile internet services and text messaging, as well as all dongle services provided over cellular networks, except for voice calls, will remain suspended in Punjab until March 20, media reports said Sunday, citing the state’s Interior Ministry.

Police urged people “not to panic or spread false news or hate speech” in a tweet, saying the law and order situation is under control.

Amritpal has recently come to prominence for his comments seen as promoting radicalism in the Sikh-majority region of India.

The group Waris Punjab De was founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a traffic accident last year. -Bernama Security alert in Indian state of Punjab as police attempt to arrest Sikh leader

Russell Falcon

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