India has requested the neighbouring country Nepal not to allow the pro-Khalistan preacher to flee to a third country and arrest him if he attempts to escape using an Indian passport after the reports that Amrit Pal Singh is present in Nepal, a media report said.
The report in The Kathmandu Post came on a day a new photograph of Amritpal with his associate Papalpreet Singh surfaced on social media even as another close aide of the Amrit Pal Singh was detained under the stringent National Security Act.
Amritpal has continued to evade arrest and remained untraceable ever since a crackdown against him and members of his outfit — Waris Punjab De — was launched in Punjab on March 18.
The Kathmandu Post reported that the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on Saturday wrote a letter to the Department of Consular Services requesting the government agencies to arrest the preacher.
“(Amritpal) Singh is currently hiding in Nepal. The esteemed ministry is requested to inform the Department of Immigration not to permit Amritpal Singh to travel through Nepal for any third country and arrest him if he attempts to escape from Nepal using Indian Passport or any other fake passport under intimation to this mission,” the newspaper said, citing a copy of the letter obtained by it.
The newspaper, citing multiple sources said, “The letter and Singh’s personal details have been circulated to all the concerned agencies from hotels to airlines…Singh is said to be possessing multiple passports with different identities”.
Another newspaper said that Nepal Home Ministry has directed all security agencies to be on high alert in the area bordering India.
Citing ministry sources, My Republica newspaper said that the instruction was given at the request of Indian security officials and the Nepal-India border area has been kept on ‘high alert’ for two days.
Quoting sources, the report said that police in plain clothes have stepped up vigilance in the border area as Amritpal could enter the country from Kapilvastu in Western Nepal.
Meanwhile, in the selfie shared on social media, Amritpal and Papalpreet, both holding a beverage can, look relaxed. In the photo, both are seen wearing sweatshirts with the preacher donning a maroon turban in the popular style — one that he adopted while being on the run — and not the traditional blue one that he used to put on as a Sikh preacher. In the CCTV footage released by the Punjab Police earlier, the preacher was purportedly seen in maroon turban.
In another development, Amritpal’s close associate Varinder Singh alias Fauji was arrested by the Amritsar Rural police. A senior police official said the National Security Act has been invoked against Varinder Singh, who was part of the private security set for the preacher, and he has been sent to the Dibrugarh Jail in Assam.
The Punjab Police crackdown on Amritpal began about three weeks after he and his supporters, many of them armed, stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested man. Amritpal managed to escape the police dragnet in Jalandhar on March 18, switching vehicles and changing appearances. He and Papalpreet Singh were allegedly harboured by latter’s woman friend at her home in Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra on March 19, police had earlier said. The woman, Baljit Kaur was later arrested, on March 25, another CCTV footage emerged purportedly showing Amritpal talking on a mobile phone in Patiala following 60-year-old Balbir Kaur was arrested.
The Punjab Police have invoked the NSA against Amritpal and eight of his arrested associates who are now lodged in Dibrugarh Jail.
He and his associates have been booked 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.
The Punjab Police on Sunday said it has released 197 people out of 353 till then taken into preventive custody on apprehension of breach of peace and disturbance of law and order.