'You have 80,000 cops...': Court slams Punjab govt amid hunt for Amritpal Singh

By | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan
Mar 21, 2023 03:27 PM IST

The high court asked Punjab government as to how Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh escaped even as a massive manhunt was launched against him on Saturday.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court ticked off Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann's government Tuesday as the manhunt to capture Khalistani leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh enters its fourth day. The court pointed out the ruling Aam Aadmi Party had 80,000 police personnel at its disposal and slammed the failure (so far) to arrest Singh. The court also demanded a status report of the operation that was launched Saturday.

Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh. (ANI)
Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh. (ANI)

"You have 80,000 cops. What were they doing. How did Amritpal Singh escape?" an irate court observed after the Punjab government - in response to a plea seeking Singh's 'release' - said it planned to invoke the stringent National Security Act against the radical 'preacher'.

A habeas corpus plea had been filed by Iman Singh Khara - the legal adviser to the Waris Punjab De - and in it he had alleged Singh is, in fact, in the 'illegal custody' of the police.

The High Court demanded to know how Singh could remain at large despite a 'well-planned operation' and additional security that had been deployed for the G20 summit in Amritsar.

"Why was the NSA imposed? The whole operation was 'planned'... then how come everyone except Amritpal has been arrested? We can't believe the story," the court said.

Also read | Amritpal Singh trained by ISI in Georgia, linked to SFJ: Intel

Punjab Police have arrested over 100 people in their hunt for Amritpal Singh, seized several of his vehicles and stationed security personnel at his hometown. International border crossings - particularly those with Nepal and Bangladesh - have been notified.

Earlier today, Mann - in his first public statement since the Amritpal Singh operation was launched - warned of action against those trying to disrupt peace and harmony in the state.

The statement and efforts to capture Singh were praised by AAP boss and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also flagged Mann's 'mature' handling of the situation.

Who is Amritpal Singh

Dubbed 'Bhindranwale 2.0', Singh claims to be a follower of Khalistani separatist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and is often seen escorted by heavily-armed supporters. Last month, Singh and his supporters broke into a police station seeking the release of one of his close aides.

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