A manhunt for a hardline Sikh preacher in India has entered its third day as authorities shut mobile internet in the whole of Punjab state and arrest more than 100 of his supporters.
Amritpal Singh, 30, rose to prominence in recent months demanding the creation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland, and with his hardline interpretation of Sikhism at rallies in rural pockets of the western state of some 30 million people.
Last month, Singh and his supporters, armed with swords, knives and guns, raided a police station after one of his aides was arrested for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping.
Punjab police late on Sunday said it “made [more] preventive arrests” of people “attempting to disturb law and order in Punjab”. Singh’s uncle and driver were among those arrested, Indian media reports said on Monday.
“Thirty-four arrests have been made today. A total of 112 persons have been arrested so far … and there is complete peace and harmony in the state,” it added.
On Monday, there was a major police presence across Punjab, especially in rural pockets and around Singh’s village of Jallupur Khera, local media reported.
The police said its “manhunt” was ongoing and the overall “situation is under control, citizens [are] requested to not believe in rumours”.
Local media reports said a ban on mobile internet and short messaging service (SMS) has been extended across Punjab, with neighbouring Haryana state also on high alert.
This story was originally published in aljazeera.com. Read the full story here