Internet services in Punjab suspended amid reports of radical preacher Amritpal Singh's arrest

by IANS |

Chandigarh, March 18 (IANS) Internet services in several parts of Punjab were suspended on Saturday till 12 p.m. Sunday amid reports of arrest of self-styled radical Sikh preacher and Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh.

Supporters of Amritpal Singh, Waris Punjab De chief, have been sharing videos of police vehicles chasing Singh's cavalcade in Moga district.

According to reports, at least six associates of Amritpal Singh were detained.

Thirty-year-old Amritpal Singh, a pro-Khalistan fiery propagator and self-styled Sikh preacher, has been running "separatist" propaganda through speeches.

On the radar of Central investigating agencies, he has drawn comparisons to Bhindranwale owing to his look-alike pious looks and donning a navy blue turban, a white chola and a sword-sized kirpan.

On February 23, an armed mob led by Amritpal Singh clashed with police and laid siege to a police station near Amritsar, demanding the release of one of their colleagues who had been taken into custody in an alleged kidnapping case.

Six policemen were injured in the bloody clash.

Police officials later clarified that they were unable to control the crowd as they were carrying a physical copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also called Bir in Punjabi, as a shield.

As the Internet was suspended, Punjab Police urged people to maintain peace and harmony and not to spread panic, fake news or hate speech.

"Punjab Police is working to maintain law and order," the Punjab Police tweeted.

"All mobile internet services, all SMS services (except banking & mobile recharge) & all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice call, in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab shall be suspended from 18th March (12:00 hours) to 19th March (12:00 hours) in the interest of public safety," the government said.

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