Amritpal Assam

Dibrugarh, March 21: The uncle of radical preacher Amritpal Singh, Harjit Singh, was taken to Assam by Punjab police on Tuesday morning, a senior official said.

Harjit Singh who was transferred to Dibrugarh jail by road from Guwahati is the fifth person linked to Amritpal’s ‘Waris Punjab De’ (WPD) to be brought to the northeastern state, he said.

A cavalcade of seven security vehicles took Harjit Singh from the Guwahati airport to the Dibrugarh central jail where he was lodged at 7.10 am, the official said.

He gave himself up before the police in the early hours of Monday.

Harjit Singh, who officials say helped his nephew gain control over the accounts of WPD, is among the five people slapped with the National Security Act (NSA), which allows the preventive detention of anyone who could threaten national security or public order.

On Sunday, four WPD members were brought to the Dibrugarh central jail after the Punjab government on Saturday began a major crackdown on the outfit, headed by Khalistan sympathizer Amritpal, who is wanted in several criminal cases. They are Daljit Singh Kalsi, Bhagwant Singh, Gurmeet Singh and ‘Pradhanmantri’ Bajeka.

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Over 100 people have been arrested so far in the crackdown, according to Punjab Police.

Heavy security has been deployed at the Mohanbari airport in Dibrugarh, fuelling speculation that more WPD members could be brought to the BJP-ruled state from Punjab, around 2,500 km away.

Harjit Singh and driver Harpreet Singh surrendered to police near Bullandpur Gurdwara in Mehatpur Jalandhar area. Among the officers present at the scene was Deputy Inspector General of Punjab Police (Border Patrol) Narinder Bhargav.

In a video filmed at the time, Harjit Singh was seen pulling out his licensed 32-barrel pistol and some Rs 1-1.25 lakh cash which he was carrying in a Mercedes.

The car was later impounded and the two men were taken away by Amritsar Rural Police. Inspector General of Assam Police (Law and Order) Prashanta Bhuyan reviewed security arrangements in Dibrugarh on Monday.

Bhuyan declined to give details, stating, “These are sensitive matters related to the internal security of the state.”

The Punjab police crackdown on the WPD began weeks after Amritpal and his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of a detained worker.

The incident raised concerns about the possible return of Khalistan militants to Pakistan’s neighboring country. WPD was founded by singer and activist Deepa Sandhu. Amritpal took over as chief a month after his death last year.