When central armed police forces were asked to be stationed in Punjab after a meeting between officials of the ministry of home affairs and the state government, it was clear that the Centre will crack down on Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh after the G20 meeting in Amritsar.
According to sources, even if there is a political tussle between the central government and the AAP-led Punjab government, there was consensus that pro-Khalistan sentiments must not float around as it posed a threat to the country’s security and growth.
Sources said in a meeting, union home minister Amit Shah told chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to tolerate this in future. Immediately after the meeting, close to 35 companies were sent to Punjab, including eight of Rapid Action Force, to maintain the law and order situation in the state.
Central intelligence agencies were asked to gather ground-level intelligence, sources said. Soon after the end of the G20 programme scheduled in Punjab and a go-ahead from officers deployed on the ground in plainclothes, teams of Punjab Police were sent in to nab Amritpal while central forces were deployed in Jallupur Khera village and other key areas to tackle his supporters.
Sources further said initially the central armed police forces were deployed for 10 days, which was extended for another few days to maintain the law and order situation. According to a senior official, RAF and other companies will assist local police until the state manages to control the situation.
Forces have been deployed in different areas, mainly around Amritsar to maintain law and order. The Intelligence Bureau has been asked to gather inputs from Punjab at frequent intervals.
The situation is tense across Punjab with internet services suspended as Punjab Police close in on Amritpal. Some others, who are reportedly close to the radical leader, were also arrested from Jalandhar on Saturday. A police official said the internet had been suspended across the state till Sunday noon.
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