July 20, 2024

MOON Desk: Amritpal Singh, a Sikh separatist who was arrested on Sunday, has been transferred to a jail in Assam under high security, according to Indian media reports.

Singh was on Sunday taken into custody from the Rode village in Moga district, Punjab “on the basis of specific intelligence”.

The rise of Singh, a preacher in the northwestern state of Punjab where Sikhs are in the majority, has revived talk of an independent Sikh homeland and stoked fears of a return to violence that killed tens of thousands of people in the 1980s and early 1990s during a Sikh insurgency.

The Hindu cited an unnamed government official as saying that the Punjab government decided to shift Singh to jail in Assam, more than 2,600 km away from Punjab, on the directions of the Centre.It said the decision was taken to avoid any kind of jailbreak or protests if Singh was lodged in any prison in Punjab or Haryana.

The arrest of Amritpal Singh, 30 — who leads a group called Waris Punjab De (the heirs of Punjab) — came after the self-styled preacher and hundreds of his supporters stormed a police station with swords and firearms, demanding the release of one of his aides.

Police have accused Singh and his supporters of attempted murder, obstruction of law enforcement, and creating disharmony, and said he had been on the run since mid-March.

He was arrested in the village gurudwara, a Sikh temple, under the National Security Act, which allows for those deemed a threat to national security to be detained without charge for up to a year, the police official said.

 

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