Prominent Sikh and pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh was arrested on Sunday after he surrendered before the police in Indian Punjab, local media reported.
Earlier this month, the Indian police had launched "massive cordon and search operations” and suspended internet and mobile services across Punjab in a push to nab Amritpal.
The Indian government had also summoned its United Kingdom's senior-most diplomat to protest the taking down of its national flag at the Indian High Commission (HC) in London by pro-Khalistan demonstrators.
Soon after, India had summoned Canada's High Commissioner as well to "convey strong concern" over Sikh protesters in Canada and how they were allowed to breach the security of India's diplomatic mission and consulates.
Read India asks Britain for increased monitoring of Sikh separatists
Meanwhile, the operation against Amritpal and his outfit 'Waris Punjab De' (heirs of Punjab) had continued for over a month now. During this time, he had also called for a 'Sarbat Khalsa' — a deliberative assembly of the Sikh community — in a video message, causing waves.
The Punjab government, through an affidavit, had informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that Amritpal is still absconding from the law, reported the Indian Express.
According to India Today, Amritpal's wife Kirandeep Kaur was held for questioning at the Amritsar airport while she was trying to flee to London on Thursday.
Though she was released after three hours of questioning, she was told she could not leave the country as she was required for investigation purposes in India.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Special Director General of Police (Internal Security) R N Dhoke said, “Amritpal has been arrested from Moga district today morning..” Singh will be shifted to Assam’s Dibrugarh jail, where nine of his aides, including Papalpreet and Daljit Singh Kalsi, are currently lodged.
In a video taken shortly before he was arrested, Amritpal justified his decision to evade the Punjab police, stating that the last one month “exposed” the real face of the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government. “I may be an accused in the court but not an accused in the court of Almighty,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jasvir Rode, slain militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s nephew, said: “Amritpal had informed police last night itself that he will surrender today morning after paying obeisance at the gurdwara. He also addressed sangat for few mins before surrendering. Police took him away around 7 am."
Soon after his arrest, Punjab Police urged people across the state to maintain peace and not share fake news.
#AmritpalSingh arrested in Moga, Punjab.
Further details will be shared by #PunjabPolice
Urge citizens to maintain peace and harmony, Don't share any fake news, always verify and share.
— Punjab Police India (@PunjabPoliceInd) April 23, 2023
"Amritpal Singh arrested in Moga, Punjab. Further details will be shared by #PunjabPolice. Urge citizens to maintain peace and harmony. Don’t share any fake news, always verify and share,” it said in a tweet.