Punjab Police search for Amritpal Singh expanded to deras in Hoshiarpur

The radical preacher has appeared in two videos and an audio clip released on social media in the past three days debunking speculation he was negotiating his surrender

Amritpal Singh, Punjab, Punjab govt, Punjab police, Waris Punjab De, Hoshiarpur
Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh has unsuccessfully tried to put the Akal Takht Jathedar at the centre of the current crisis. File photo

Punjab Police expanded its search for Amritpal Singh on Friday to deras and other possible hideouts of the fugitive preacher in Hoshiarpur district, where some suspects had abandoned their car following a chase three days ago.

Police sources said barricades have been placed at key choke points and a thorough search of all vehicles in Marnaian and nearby villages was underway. They said police officials were also searching deras, residential places, small rooms set up near tubewells and even shelter for animals in several villages.

Also watch: Radical Sikh leader Amritpal still on the run; what explains the mystery?

Videos and audio clips

The radical preacher has been on the run since a police crackdown on his outfit Waris Punjab De on March 18. He has, however, appeared in two purported videos and an audio clip released on social media in the past three days.

In the latest video, the Khalistan sympathiser asserted he was not a fugitive and would soon appear before the world. In the audio clip, he debunked speculation he was negotiating his surrender and nudged the Akal Takht for the second time to summon a Sarbat Khalsa congregation to discuss issues related to the Sikh community.

The hunt to nab Amritpal Singh was launched in Hoshiarpur district on Tuesday night following inputs that the radical preacher and his aides could be there.

The hunt

It began after police chased an Innova SUV from Phagwara, which some sources said may have carried Amritpal Singh and his aides. The occupants abandoned the vehicle near Gurdwara Bhai Chanchal Singh in Marnaian and disappeared.

Officials said there were also inputs the suspects could have used a Swift car after abandoning the SUV.

Police had recovered another vehicle from Phagwara, which they suspected could have been used by the fugitive and his close aide Papalpreet Singh. Police had also conducted a door-to-door search but no success has been achieved yet.

Punjab Police have been on a high alert since Amritpal Singh escaped their net in Jalandhar on March 18.

Police crackdown

The crackdown on Waris Punjab De chief was launched about three weeks after his supporters stormed a police station in Ajnala near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested man.

Also read: Days after Amritpal’s escape, 6 Punjab police officers shifted

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.

Police have stepped up security in and around Amritsar and Bathinda amid reports that Amritpal Singh may surrender after entering any of the two Sikh shrines — Golden Temple in Amritsar and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Bathinda.

(With Agency inputs)