India: Internet services suspended in Punjab as police launch operation to arrest Amritpal Singh

Action comes almost over three weeks after his supporters clashed with police personnel

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Published: Sat 18 Mar 2023, 3:34 PM

Mobile Internet services have been suspended in several districts of Punjab until noon on Sunday, State police said today after launching an operation to arrest chief of outfit 'Waris Punjab De', Amritpal Singh and his aides.

"All mobile internet services, all SMS services (except banking & 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, (12:00 hours) to March 19, (12:00 hours) 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 aides – 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 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 Lovepreet Singh Toofan will be discharged.

Lovepreet Singh 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.


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