Amid reports that fugitive pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh has returned to Punjab and may surrender in Amritsar, the city police have virtually ruled out the possibility, stating that they have received no specific input regarding any such event.
“I do not have any information on this. But we have heard this rumour through the media. I cannot confirm this since I have no information on this. We have made arrangements (near Golden Temple) for the security of the people. If he (Amritpal) wants to surrender, it is his wish,” Commissioner of Police, Amritsar, Naunihal Singh, told news agency ANI.
The senior police official also denied receiving any demands or conditions from Amritpal regarding his surrender. “If he surrenders, he will be treated as per due legal process. There is a set procedure that is brought into force as per law and he will be treated as per that procedure. He will not be subjected to any mistreatment or discrimination,” he added.
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The statement came after reports that Amritpal Singh has been spotted in Punjab following his return from Uttarakhand and visited Anandpur Sahib in Ropar. As per the reports, Punjab Police has recovered a vehicle that was allegedly used by Waris Punjab De chief.
Amritpal Singh, a self-proclaimed preacher who emerged on the scene in Punjab following the death of singer-activist Deep Sidhu, has been declared a fugitive and has been on the run since March 18, the day police and security personnel initiated a major crackdown against him and his aides.
Meanwhile, security has been ramped up in Amritsar around the Golden Temple where the self-styled preacher is expected to reach and surrender, The Indian Express reported citing police sources without offering any timeline as to when the expected surrender was likely to happen.
Tight security arrangements have also been put in place at Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo where Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh is present.
On Tuesday, the Punjab Police, acting on inputs that Amritpal entered Punjab, chased down an SUV but its occupants managed to flee after abandoning the vehicle near a gurudwara in Hoshiarpur. Police suspect Amritpal and his associate Papalpreet Singh were among its occupants.
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Following the crackdown on March 18, several of Amritpal’s close associates have been arrested, and at least 8, including Amritpal, charged under the stringent UAPA.
Over the last few days, photos and CCTV footage videos on social media have claimed to show Amritpal in different avatars, possibly with an intent to hoodwink police personnel on the lookout for him.