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India shuts down Punjab internet in manhunt for separatist leader Amritpal Singh

With his supporters’ aid, Mr Singh eluded the police in a hot car chase on Saturday.

• March 21, 2023
Punjabi Police [Photo Credit; The statesman]

All internet services have been shut down by the government of Punjab, India, as police launch a manhunt for Amritpal Singh, a separatist leader who favours the creation of a separate state for Sikhs.

Khalista, a separate state for Sikhs in India, is being pushed for by the extreme preacher, the driving force behind ‘Waris Punja De’, also known as ‘Heirs of Punjab’.

With his supporters’ aid, Mr Singh eluded the police in a hot car chase on Saturday.

His unprecedented escape prompted security agents to shut down all internet services in the state, leaving about 27 million people without access to the internet, all to catch the radical leader.

The police detained over 100 of Mr Singh’s supporters and urged citizens to maintain law and order while the manhunt was underway.

“Punjab Police is working to maintain law and order,” tweeted the Punjab Police on Saturday,” said the authorities. “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 18th March (12:00 hours) to 19th March (12:00 hours) in the interest of public safety,” the authorities said.

The 24-hour internet ban that was originally planned to end on Sunday has been extended until Tuesday.

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