Key aide among 4 held for harbouring pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal - Hindustan Times
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Key aide among 4 held for harbouring pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal

ByAnil Sharma,
Apr 16, 2023 12:26 AM IST

In-charge of a ‘dera’ in UP’s Pilibhit, Joga Singh provided shelter and vehicles to fugitive pro-Khalistan leader and also brought him back to Punjab, say police

AMRITSAR/HOSHIARPUR : Punjab Police on Saturday arrested four persons for harbouring and extending support to pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh, who is on the run since March 18 after the police crackdown against him and his aides.

In-charge of a ‘dera’ in UP’s Pilibhit, Joga Singh provided shelter and vehicles to fugitive pro-Khalistan leader and also brought him back to Punjab, say police.
In-charge of a ‘dera’ in UP’s Pilibhit, Joga Singh provided shelter and vehicles to fugitive pro-Khalistan leader and also brought him back to Punjab, say police.

Joga Singh, a resident of Ludhiana and in-charge of ‘dera’ in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested from Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district in a joint operation by the Hoshiarpur and Amritsar-rural police when he was coming to Punjab from Haryana, a police official said, adding the police were on his trail.

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Police said Joga helped Amritpal and his right-hand man Papalpreet Singh to return to Punjab after their escape.

“Joga Singh was in direct contact with Amritpal. He arranged shelter and vehicles for the pro-Khalistan leader and his aide Papalpreet from March 18 to March 28. He arranged his stay in Pilibhit and then return to Punjab,” deputy inspector general (border range) Narinder Bhargav said.

Amritpal had fled to UP through Haryana after evading his arrest during the Punjab Police crackdown.

The fugitive pro-Khalistan leader has been booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), and faces charges of spreading hatred and disharmony among classes, murder bid and assault on police officials.

The crackdown on Amritpal and his supporters began on March 18 when a police cavalcade intercepted his car near Mehatpur town in Jalandhar when he was on his way to Bathinda to address a gathering. But Amritpal changed cars and managed to mount a dramatic escape on a motorcycle, halting for a short while at a local gurdwara before getting away with the help of two accomplices.

The DIG said the Amritsar-rural police had a tip-off about Joga movement in Haryana. A joint tram of the Amritsar-rural and Hoshiarpur was in Haryana to keep a watch on his movement.

“When Joga Singh was coming from Haryana to Punjab, he was arrested in Sirhind area on Saturday afternoon,” the DIG said.

The DIG said on March 28, Amritpal, Joga, Papalpreet and Sharanjit were spotted in Hoshiarpur district. Amritpal is still on the run but the three of his associates have been nabbed, he said adding that Joga has not been arrested under the National Security Act (NSA). “He was booked on March 28 in Hoshiarpur under Sections 212 (harbouring offender), 279 (rash driving) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” the DIG said.

Lawyer, 2 others arrested in Hoshiarpur

Earlier in the day, the Hoshiarpur police arrested three persons, including a lawyer, for helping and giving shelter to Amritpal. While Onkar Nath and Sarabjit Singh hail from Jalandhar district, the lawyer, Rajdeep Singh, is a resident of Babak village of Hoshiarpur.

They have been booked under Section 212 (harbouring), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) at the Mehtiana police station in Hoshiarpur.

All of them were produced before a court which sent Onkar to judicial custody whereas the other two were remanded to four-day police custody.

Since March 28, when Amritpal and his aide Papalpreet escaped from Marnaiyan village, the police have arrested seven persons. On April 10, two siblings of Rajpur Bhaiyan village were taken into custody. A week ago, a Phagwara resident was arrested but when no evidence was found against him, the police moved an application for his release.

Rajdeep’s counsel Tanheer Singh Bariana said the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana must ensure that a lawyer is not arrested without prior permission of the chief judicial magistrate. Rajdeep’s father Charanjit Singh said his son was being falsely implicated.

Papalpreet Singh was arrested from Amritsar district last week and booked under the National Security Act (NSA).

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Harjinder Singh Dhami condemned the arrest of advocate Rajdeep Singh, terming it against human rights and freedom of expression. He said it is not logical in any way to arrest a person who did not commit any crime.

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