For the last one week, news channels have been showing disturbing images of how Amritpal Singh, an alleged Khalistan sympathizer and Chief of the little-known organization, “Waris Punjab De’’, has been successful in eluding the police. CCTV grabs, showing blurred images of a man sitting on the pillion of a two-wheeler and of someone with an umbrella over his head near the Kurekshetra bus stand, have been flashing on TV screens claiming that they were of the fugitive, who is on the run and is now supposed to be probably in Uttrakhand. The sum total of all what is going on, puts a big question mark over the abilities of not only the Punjab police but also of police organizations in other states, besides the central intelligence agencies. The issue is that is the Indian police so impotent that it has been unable to track down a person whose images keep on re-appearing on the TV, thanks to some selected leaks by the intelligence agencies. The matter is not only about the elusive separatist but also about what the intelligence agencies have been doing so far. It shows them in extremely poor light and proves that there has been no pin-pointed information on the suspect, and what is being done is to absolve the concerned units from any responsibility to put the blame on the shoulders of the Punjab police, which without any doubt bungled on the case at the very outset. It was when Amritpal and his supporters had laid a siege of the Ajnala Police Station sometime ago to secure the release of their associate and the authorities succumbed to their demands. Israel has emerged as a major power and one of the most influential Nations only because their intelligence network is extra-ordinary. For any country to become strong, it is essential that its agencies are ahead of those who are attempting to create trouble through violent means. The ease with which Amritpal has been able to slip from one cordon or the other raises doubts whether there was a deliberate attempt to make him acquire the status of a national figure for all the wrong reasons. Normally such people should be caught and put behind bars without any delay or fuss but the police continue to adopt primitive methods. His wife, Kirandeep Singh, a NRI from the United Kingdom whom he married last month, has been questioned at the Jallupur Khera village of Punjab along with his father, Tarsem Singh. However, nothing concrete emerged from the interrogation. The police have obviously not had any breakthrough as yet. One often wonders how the intelligence agencies have arrived at the conclusion that Amritpal was headed for Uttrakhand? Did he speak to someone? For all one knows, he may be in the national capital, right under the nose of the central government and the Delhi police. On January 2nd, 1984, the Delhi police had made a major breakthrough when they arrested Sukhpal Singh alias Sukha from the Tolstoy Marg-Barakhamba Road crossing soon after he had robbed a bank on Parliament Street. His interrogation had provided the first real live evidence of militant activity within the premises of the Golden Temple complex and how anti-national elements were gathering at the Guru Ram Dass Sarai. The authorities did not act immediately and the situation escalated leading to the unfortunate Operation Black Thunder, six months later. The police and the intelligence agencies should pull up their socks and deal with Amritpal Singh effectively. If he is having a free run, it is not only because of his own network but also due to the failure of our agencies and the police. This issue has to be taken up at the highest level since it pertains to National security and the country’s integrity. Punjab is a key state which has met multiple challenges in the past to stand up with the rest of India. It is a land that has produced the maximum martyrs. The situation there cannot under any circumstances be allowed to deteriorate any further
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