Punjab: Mobile internet services partially restored, Amritpal’s uncle moved to Dibrugarh jail

Over 100 people have been arrested so far in the crackdown on the outfit, Waris Punjab De, according to Punjab Police

Punjab Police, Amritpal Singh, Harjit Singh, Waris Punjab De, Assam
The Punjab Police crackdown on Waris Punjab De began weeks after Amritpal and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar. (Representational image: Punjab Police / Twitter)

The Punjab government on Tuesday (March 21) extended the suspension of mobile internet and SMS services in Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur and Amritsar’s Ajnala sub-division and a few areas in Mohali till Thursday noon (March 23). The curbs will be lifted from the rest of the state from Tuesday noon (March 21), the department of home affairs and justice said in an order.

Amritpal’s uncle moved to Dibrugarh jail

Meanwhile, the radical preacher Amritpal Singh’s uncle, Harjit Singh, was brought to Assam by the Punjab Police on Tuesday morning (March 21), a senior official said. Harjit Singh, who was moved to the Dibrugarh jail by road from Guwahati, is the fifth person linked to Amritpal’s Waris Punjab De (WPD) to be brought to the Northeastern state, he said.

A cavalcade of seven security vehicles took Harjit Singh from the Guwahati airport to the Dibrugarh central jail where he was lodged at 7.10 am, the official said.

He gave himself up before the police in the early hours of Monday (March 20).

Curbs on internet services since March 18

The curbs on mobile internet and SMS services were imposed by the Punjab government on Saturday (March 18) as the state’s police force launched a major crackdown against radical preacher Amritpal Singh and members of his outfit Waris Punjab De.

Also read: Amritpal Singh on the run: Ban on mobile internet in Punjab extended

” it is directed that all mobile internet services (2G/3G/45/5G/CDMA/GPRS), all SMS services (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice calls, in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab shall continue to remain suspended from March 21 (12.00 hours) to March 23 (12.00 hours) only in the districts Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, sub-division Ajnala in Amritsar, areas adjoining YPS chowk and airport road, both in SAS Nagar in continuation of this office order no 1781 dated March 20 in the interest of public safety, to prevent any incitement to violence, and to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order,” the recent order read.

It clarified that mobile internet services in all the remaining areas of the state should start functioning normally from 12 noon on Tuesday (March 21).

Harjit Singh among five slapped with NSA

Harjit Singh, who officials say helped his nephew gain control over the accounts of WPD, is among the five people slapped with the National Security Act (NSA), which allows the preventive detention of anyone who could threaten national security or public order.

On Sunday, four WPD members were brought to the Dibrugarh central jail after the Punjab government on Saturday (March 18) began a major crackdown on the outfit, headed by Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal, who is wanted in several criminal cases. They are Daljit Singh Kalsi, Bhagwant Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Pradhanmantri Bajeka.

Over 100 arrested so far

Over 100 people have been arrested so far in the crackdown, according to Punjab Police.

Heavy security has been deployed at the Mohanbari airport in Dibrugarh, fuelling speculation that more WPD members could be brought to the BJP-ruled state from Punjab, around 2,500 km away.

Also read: Amritpal Singh is still on the run; his uncle, driver surrender

Harjit Singh, along with driver Harpreet Singh, surrendered before the police near Bullandpur gurdwara in Jalandhar’s Mehatpur area. Punjab’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (Border Range) Narinder Bhargav was among the officers at the spot.

In a video shot then, Harjit Singh was seen producing his licensed 32-bore pistol and cash amounting to ₹1-1.25 lakh that he was carrying in a Mercedes. The car was later seized and the two men taken away by the Amritsar Rural police, officials said.

Assam’s Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Prashanta Bhuyan reviewed the security arrangements in Dibrugarh on Monday (March 20). Bhuyan refused to share details, stating, “These are sensitive matters related to the internal security of the state.”

Police crackdown on Waris Punjab De

The Punjab Police crackdown on WPD began weeks after Amritpal and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested associate.

Also read: Watch: How long can Amritpal Singh dodge Punjab police?

The episode had raised fears over the possibility of the return of Khalistani militancy to the state that borders Pakistan.

WPD was formed by singer-activist Deep Sandhu. Amritpal took over as its chief a month after his death last year.

(With inputs from agencies)