Indian legislation enforcement officers on Sunday apprehended Amritpal Singh, a distinguished separatist chief, who had evaded authorities for greater than a month.
Singh, recognized for reiterating calls for for a sovereign Sikh state, was taken into custody by the police.
Police within the northern state of Punjab tweeted that Singh, 30, was arrested in Moga.
Singh, a self-styled preacher, rose to prominence earlier this yr by voicing help for the Khalistan motion, which requires Punjab’s secession to create an impartial state for India’s Sikh spiritual minority.
He leads a bunch often called Waris Punjab De, or Heirs of Punjab, which was a part of the large protests staged by farmers in opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contentious agriculture reforms.
The group was fashioned by actor and activist Deep Sidhu, who died in a automobile crash final yr, after which Singh turned its head.
Singh’s supporters stormed a police station in Punjab in February, wielding weapons and swords, to demand the discharge of an arrested aide.
“Amritpal Singh was arrested by Punjab police at round 6.45 a.m. (1.15 a.m. GMT) on Sunday morning. He was absconding for multiple month,” Sukhchain Singh Gill, the state’s prime police official, informed reporters.
He mentioned Singh was arrested underneath the Nationwide Safety Act and has been moved to a jail within the northeastern state of Assam.
Native broadcaster NDTV reported that Singh surrendered to police after providing prayers at a Sikh shrine within the village of Rode.
He additionally addressed his followers on the shrine in Moga, the birthplace of militant Sikh chief Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was killed by the Indian navy in 1984 throughout an operation on the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs.
Indian authorities launched a large manhunt for Singh and his supporters final month. Lots of his aides have been caught, however he evaded arrest for weeks.
The Punjab authorities even suspended cellular web and messaging providers to limit the group’s communications.
Greater than 100 folks have been arrested within the crackdown, and most have been launched.
The operation sparked pro-Khalistan protests at Indian diplomatic missions in a number of international locations, together with the U.S., U.Okay. and Canada.
Part of India’s Sikh group launched the Khalistan motion within the late Seventies, triggering a wave of lethal violence that claimed 1000’s of lives in Punjab, the place Sikhs are the bulk.
Whereas Sikh secessionism has largely died down in India, pro-Khalistan teams have remained energetic internationally.