India: a Sikh separatist leader on the run for a month has been arrested

Amritpal Singh, a Sikh separatist preacher on the run for a month and who was the target of an intense manhunt in India, has finally been arrested, police said Sunday.

He was “arrested in Moga, Punjab”, the police said in this northwestern Indian state, urging “citizens to maintain peace and harmony” and not spread fake news.

According to local media, the fugitive turned himself in to police.

Amritpal Singh, 30, has made a name for himself in recent months by preaching radical Sikhism, even demanding the creation of a Sikh state called Khalistan.

The Sikh leader and his followers, all armed with swords, knives and firearms, stormed the police station in February after one of Singh’s aides was arrested for assault and attempted robbery, suspected kidnapping.

The attack in broad daylight on the outskirts of Amritsar, the city which houses Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, left several police officers injured. Amritpal Singh had fled on March 18, triggering a massive manhunt.

More than a hundred of his supporters have been arrested, and the entire state of Punjab, which has a population of 30 million people, 58% of whom are Sikhs, was unable to access mobile internet for several days.

This hunt has even reacted internationally. His supporters staged demonstrations of support outside Indian consulates in Britain, Canada and the US.

The state of Punjab experienced a violent separatist movement in favor of Khalistan in the 1980s and early 1990s, which claimed thousands of lives.

Garfield Woolery

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