Amritpal Singh is a self-styled preacher and supporter of Sikh independence arrested in Punjab state, India. He had been on the run for over a month after evading arrest on charges of attempted murder and attacking police officials.
Singh gained attention in February when his supporters stormed a police station demanding the release of an arrested aide. The situation in Punjab has brought back memories of the separatist insurgency and crackdown from the 1980s, which resulted in many casualties.
The manhunt for Sikh separatist Mr Singh spanned several parts of northern India, including the capital Delhi and the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Nepal had also put him on its surveillance list at Indian govt’s request.
Amritpal Singh, who backs the Khalistan movement for a separate Sikh homeland, claims to draw inspiration from Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a preacher accused by the Indian government of leading an armed insurgency in the 1980s. Bhindranwale was killed in the Indian army’s storming of the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in the Sikh religion, in 1984.
Indian police first attempted to arrest Amritpal Singh on 18 March – thousands of personnel were deployed and traffic blockades were set up across the state to check vehicles.
But he escaped in a dramatic car chase which was live-streamed by some of his associates.
In the days that followed, many of his supporters were arrested and sent to a high-security prison in Assam state. Reports say Mr Singh will also be sent there.
Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs, had requested Mr Singh to surrender to the police and co-operate with their investigation.