Amritpal Singh saga: Isolation in Dibrugarh jail, speculation on wife being reason for arrest

Amritpal Singh, the fugitive Khalistan movement separatist and former Dubai NRI who was caught by the Punjab Police dragnet yesterday, is now lodged in isolation and under enhanced security in Dibrugarh jail, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. This is a high-security prison that once held arrested militants of the United Liberation Front of Assam.

Supporters of Amritpal Singh continue to claim that he ‘surrendered’, even though Punjab Police made it clear that he was surrounded and had nowhere to run. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@AdityaRajKaul

Several aides of Amritpal are also being held in Dibrugarh jail. All of them are booked under the National Security Act (NSA), which enables a longer detention by the law enforcement authorities. At least a dozen additional security cameras have been installed to monitor Amritpal and his aides, as per reports, augmenting the 50-plus CCTV setup of the prison.

Amritpal became chief of the outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’ last year, after the accidental death of its founder Deep Singh Sandhu. Not only has Amritpal styled himself on Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the former militant leader of the Khalistan movement, but he was also arrested at a gurudwara in Rode, the native village of Bhindranwale.

A file photo of Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh with his aides. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@TheAusToday

From the time news of the arrest broke early on Sunday morning, there has been speculation around the circumstances of his arrest. His supporters keep claiming that Amritpal chose to surrender; Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sukhchain Singh Gill has dismissed this claim and clearly stated that it was an arrest made through co-ordinated intelligence work, leaving Amritpal with nowhere to run.

The police did not enter the gurudwara, but Amritpal was surrounded, and the village was cordoned off, so he was completely cornered, said the IGP.

Also read: Police detain NRI Kirandeep Kaur, Amritpal Singh's wife, at Amritsar Airport

Some reports suggest Amritpal, who had been on the run for over a month, became fearful of his wife’s possible arrest, if he continued as a fugitive. His British-Indian wife, Kirandeep Kaur, who has a United Kingdom passport, was detained at Amritsar airport last week, just when she was about to fly out to London. Some other reports suggest Jasbir Singh Rode, the nephew of Bhindranwale, secretly informed the police after getting to know that Amritpal was hiding in the gurudwara and wanted to give himself up.