Punjab: Suspension of internet, SMS services to continue till Tuesday noon, says Govt

20 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh

punjab National

Punjab Police said that Amritpal Singh's uncle and driver had surrendered to them.

The suspension of mobile internet, SMS, and dongle services would remain till Tuesday noon, according to the Punjab government, as part of the ongoing crackdown on ‘Waris Punjab De’ head Amritpal Singh.

“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 suspended till March 21 (12:00 hours) in the interest of public safety,” the department of Home Affairs and Justice, Government of Punjab informed in a statement on Monday. The statement by the Punjab government stated that certain sections in the society are likely to threaten public order, and they widely use social media platforms for mobilising their “anti-national activities.”

“It has been brought to my notice that certain sections of society are holding protests at several places in the State and are likely to threaten public order by incitement to violence,” the statement read.

The statement further added, “It has further been brought to my notice that these sections of society widely use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., and also Short Message Service (SMS) for spreading of inflammatory material and false rumors, to provoke mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, mobilize their own manpower and resources for their anti-national activities”.

Importantly, the suspension of internet and SMS services in Punjab was implemented on Saturday and was extended again on Sunday in response to the circumstances. Earlier in the day, Punjab Police said that Amritpal Singh’s uncle and driver had surrendered to them.

SSP Jalandhar Swarndeep Singh confirmed saying, “Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh’s uncle and driver surrendered before the Punjab police last night”.

According to accounts, both of them surrendered at Mehatpur. They sneaked inside the police station late at night. The two arrived in a Mercedes, which the police also confiscated. On Saturday, Punjab Police initiated an investigation against Amritpal Singh and his associates.

According to the police, a total of 112 arrests have been made in the investigation so far, with 34 being made on Sunday. According to the police, Waris Punjab De head Amritpal Singh is still on the run, and a large manhunt has been begun to apprehend him.

Earlier, central agency sources said Daljeet Singh Kalsi, alias Sarabjeet Singh Kalsi, an accused adviser and financier to Amritpal Singh, was detained on Sunday.

Punjab Police also confiscated the car used by ‘Waris Punjab De’ head Amritpal Singh to flee, as well as numerous other vehicles and munitions. Meanwhile, a large police force has been positioned outside Amritpal Singh’s home in Amritsar’s Jallupur Khera village. According to the police, security has also been increased throughout the state.

The police also held flag marches around the state to preserve law and order and instill trust in the public. Jalandhar Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal acknowledged the extremist leader’s status as a “fugitive” late Saturday evening.

The police intervention occurred almost three weeks after Amritpal supporters battled with uniformed officials at the Ajnala police station on the outskirts of Amritsar on February 23, seeking the release of one of Amritpal’s close aides, Lovepreet Toofan.

Hundreds of his fans attacked the Ajnala police station, brandishing swords and high-calibre guns and threatening the officers with severe repercussions if Lovepreet Toofan, who had been detained for allegedly assaulting and abducting a man, was not released.