Amritpal Singh, a Sikh separatist, has been detained by Indian police after they have been looking for him for more than a month, a state police official said on Sunday. This is an effort against the resurgence of an independent homeland in the Punjab state bordering Pakistan.
The emergence of Singh, a preacher in the predominately Sikh state of Punjab in the northwest, has reignited talk of an independent Sikh homeland and stirred concerns about a resurgence of the violence that claimed tens of thousands of lives during a Sikh insurgency in the 1980s and the early 1990s.
Sukhchain Singh Gill, a senior member of the Punjab police, told reporters that Amritpal Singh had been detained in the Rode village of the Moga region of Punjab “on the basis of specific intelligence.”
Amritpal Singh, 30, was arrested after the self-styled preacher and hundreds of his followers assaulted a police station with swords and pistols to seek the release of one of his aides. Singh leads a group known as Waris Punjab De (the heirs of Punjab).
Singh has reportedly been on the run since the middle of March, according to the police, who have charged him and his supporters with attempted murder, obstructing law enforcement, and causing discord.
According to a police official, he was jailed without charge for up to a year under the National Security Act after being apprehended in the village’s Sikh temple, or gurudwara.
Gill claimed that he would be sent to the Assamese city of Dibrugarh, where some of his accomplices are already detained.