Indian authorities on hunt for Sikh separatist leader for 4th day
New Delhi, Mar 21 (EFE) .- The hunt for a Sikh separatist leader in India entered its fourth day on Tuesday while several alleged collaborators and aides who helped his escape continued.
Amritpal Singh is accused of illegal possession of arms and heading a separatist movement in northern India.
Police reported on Tuesday the arrest of six people who allegedly aided Singh, leader of a movement that seeks to carve out an independent state of Khalistan (“land of the pure”), comprising the state of Punjab in India and, to a lesser extent, in Pakistan.
Two of those arrested are accused of helping shelter the separatist leader on Saturday, while the other four allegedly collaborated in Singh’s car escape, the police said at a news conference.
More than a hundred people associated with Singh have been arrested in recent days.
The fugitive leader was last seen last Saturday night in the city of Jalandhar, in Punjab, while fleeing law enforcement in a vehicle that he later abandoned to mislead the officers, and continued his escape on a motorcycle.
Since then, thousands of troops have been deployed across the state and messaging and internet services have been suspended in the attempt to hunt down the separatist leader.
Singh is accused of hiding a large number of weapons and running a center to indoctrinate young Sikhs to commit attacks and violent protests against the state.
Intelligence reports also suggest that Singh may have links to Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, ISI, which supposedly provided him with weapons and drugs to strengthen his organization.
Authorities have released multiple pictures of Singh and charged him under the National Security Act after the controversial leader evaded arrest following a non-bailable warrant against him.
Amritpal Singh leads the controversial separatist group ‘Waris Punjab de’ (The Heirs of Punjab) advocating for Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland, in the Punjab region.
The organization was formed in the heat of the massive 2020 peasant protests in India by actor and political activist Deep Sidhu, one of the best-known faces in the agrarian revolt fighting for farmers’ rights. EFE