Internet Ban In Punjab Lifted Except In These Districts As Search For Amritpal Singh Enters Day 4
Internet in Punjab was suspended since Saturday when the Bhagwant Mann-led government launched a major crackdown against 'Waris Punjab De' chief and pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh.
New Delhi: The manhunt for 'Waris Punjab De' chief and Khalistan sympathizer Amritpal Singh entered day 4 on Tuesday (March 21, 2023) with the Punjab government lifting the internet ban except in a few sensitive pockets. All mobile internet services, all SMS services (except banking and mobile recharge), and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice call, will remain suspended in Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Sub-Division Ainala in Amritsar, areas adjoining YPS chowk and Airport Road both in SAS Nagar till March 23. The mobile internet services in all the remaining areas of the state started functioning normally from 12 pm on Tuesday. Mobile internet services in Punjab were suspended on Saturday till Sunday noon, which was then extended on Monday till 12 pm on Tuesday.
"Director General of Police, Punjab has 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 as also resorting to widespread violence with an aim to stoke and cause communal tension, obstruction or injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquillity thereby threatening public safety and public order in the State of Punjab," the order by Additional Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab, Home Department, read.
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The official said that the Punjab DGP has brought to his 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 "inflammatory material" and "false rumours", to provoke mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, mobilize their own manpower and resources for their "anti-national activities".
"There is a clear continuation of the potential of threat to public safety, disruption of public utilities, damage to public assets and amenities, and disturbance of public law and order in the State of Punjab on account of misuse of mobile internet services, SMS services, and other dongle services," the Additional Chief Secretary added.
"Therefore, in exercise of powers conferred on me, it is directed that all mobile internet services, all SMS services (except banking & mobile recharge) & all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice call, shall continue to remain suspended in the districts Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Sub-Division Ainala in Amritsar, areas adjoining YPS chowk and Airport Road both in SAS Nagar, till March 23 (12:00 hours)," the order said.
The official said that the step has been taken in the "interest of public safety, to prevent any incitement to violence, and to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order".
All mobile internet services, all SMS services (except banking & mobile recharge) & all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except the voice call, shall continue to remain suspended in the districts Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Sub-Division Ainala in Amritsar,… https://t.co/0uGJSAZcZL pic.twitter.com/jHgyzcYLoy— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2023
A manhunt is currently on to nab radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh.
Internet In Punjab Was Suspended Amid Crackdown Against Amritpal Singh
The police on Saturday suspended the internet in Punjab after it launched a major crackdown against Amritpal Singh, who escaped its dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in the Jalandhar district.
Since then, security has been tightened at many places in Punjab with intensive vehicle checking.
Earlier last month, Amritpal Singh and his supporters -- some of them brandishing swords and guns -- broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala Police Station on the outskirts of the Amritsar city, clashing with police for the release of one of Amritpal's aides.
After the incident, in which six policemen including a Superintendent of Police rank officer had suffered injuries, the Mann-led government in the state had faced severe flak and was accused of kowtowing to extremists.
Dubai-returned Amritpal Singh was last year anointed the head of 'Waris Punjab De', which was founded by actor and activist Deep Sidhu who died in a road accident in February last year.