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Separatist arrested, Punjab suspends Internet

Updated on: 19 March,2023 07:37 AM IST  |  Chandigarh
Agencies |

Action against the Khalistani leader comes after Amritpal’s supporters clashed with police in Amritsar last month

Separatist arrested, Punjab suspends Internet

Khalistani leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh was detained near Jalandhar’s Nakodar on Saturday. File Pic/ANI

Mobile Internet services have been suspended in several districts of Punjab until noon today, state police said after launching an operation to arrest chief of suspected pro-Khalistan outfit Waris Punjab De, Amritpal Singh, and his aides. Section 144 has also been implemented.

“All mobile Internet services, all SMS services [except banking and mobile recharge] and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice call, in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab shall be suspended from March 18 to March 19 in the interest of public safety,” Punjab’s department of Home Affairs and Justice said. The police action came almost over three weeks after Amritpal’s supporters clashed with police personnel at the Ajnala police station on the outskirts of Amritsar last month, demanding the release of one of Amritpal’s close aide, Lovepreet Toofan.

On February 23, thousands of his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station, flashing swords and high-calibre firearms, threatening the police with dire consequences if they did not release Lovepreet Toofan, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting and abducting a man. The supporters, brandishing swords and guns broke through police barricades erected outside the Ajnala police station. The police later said “in the light of the evidence presented”, it has been decided that Toofan will be discharged. Toofan was released from jail on February 24 following orders of a court in Ajnala on an application by the police.

Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that these “1,000 people” don’t represent Punjab, and alleged that they are “funded by Pakistan” to disrupt peace in the state. Punjab Police on Saturday appealed to the citizens to “maintain peace and harmony” in the State and stay away from “false news”.

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