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India: 78 followers of Sikh preacher arrested

In India, authorities have arrested dozens of followers of a radical Sikh preacher while manhunts for the man himself continued at full steam. Police in the northern Indian state of Punjab wrote on Twitter last night that 78 people were arrested during the “megarazzia” against Amritpal Singh’s supporters. However, Singh himself was not among those arrested.

Today, according to local media, police showed an increased presence in rural areas of Punjab and in Singh’s home village. The authorities ordered the mobile Internet to be switched off by the beginning of the week.

The Sikhs are a religious minority in India, living mainly in Punjab and parts of the neighboring states. Singh, 30, has come out in recent months calling for the establishment of an independent state called Khalistan.

In February, he and his supporters, armed with swords, knives and pistols, stormed a police station in Amritsar – site of the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine. Several police officers were injured, which increased the pressure on the authorities to take action against the radical preacher.

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