Cross-Border Chase: Special Bureau of Nepal Police Launches Hunt for Indian Khalistan Leader; Supporters, and Gurudwara under Tight Surveillance
Kathmandu : Indian media reports suggest that pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh may have fled to Nepal, but Nepalese security agencies have yet to confirm his presence in the country.
On Saturday, the Indian Embassy in Nepal requested that the Nepalese government keep a close eye on Singh, as he is believed to have played a prominent role in promoting the separatist Khalistan movement. It is feared that he may attempt to travel to a third country via Nepal.
Although some Nepalese media outlets had also reported on Amritpal Singh’s possible presence in Nepal, a recent inquiry by Ukeraa revealed that law enforcement officials involved in counter-terrorism and international crime investigations have not found any evidence to support these claims.
“There is only a doubt that he may have come to Nepal. It is not a proven fact,” a police officer involved in international crime investigations told Ukeraa.
Poshraj Pokharel, spokesperson of Nepal Police did not wish to disclose detailed information on the issue. He said the security agencies are always alert. “It is a routine procedure to take all necessary safety precautions.”
What is Police upto?
During a recent interview, Pokharel declined to provide detailed information, but Ukeraa was able to obtain some insights into the strategic security plan aimed at locating Amritpal Singh.
Despite the fact that there is currently no definitive evidence to suggest that Singh has entered Nepal, a security strategy has been implemented as a precautionary measure, given that the search for him has intensified in India. Officials have raised concerns that he may attempt to take advantage of the open border between the two countries to enter Nepal.
The search for Amritpal Singh is now underway, with the Special Bureau of Police taking the lead in the investigation. In addition to its own manpower, the Bureau has also mobilized police units from other areas to assist in the search effort.
To increase the likelihood of locating Amritpal Singh, police surveillance has been intensified at the Nepal-India border, as it is believed that he may attempt to hide in border settlements or Gurdwaras. Given his support for the Khalistan movement, authorities initially suspected that he may seek refuge in a religious institution.
Sources involved in the search for Amritpal Singh have disclosed that his pictures in various disguises have been circulated in the border areas, in the hope of identifying him should he attempt to enter Nepal incognito.
The protests which began in Punjab, India after the arrest of one of Amritpal's supporters, who had recently returned from Dubai after a prolonged stay, have now spread to other countries with pro-Khalistani sentiments.
While there are some individuals in Nepal who are believed to be supporters of the Khalistan movement and are on the police’s watchlist, no protests related to the issue have taken place in the country thus far.
High Surveillance at Immigration Checkpoints
In anticipation of the possibility that Amritpal Singh may attempt to use Nepal as a route to escape to a third country, heightened vigilance has been implemented at the airport. Sources have confirmed that the Nepalese authorities have received detailed information about Amritpal's passport from Indian security agencies, who are concerned that he may attempt to flee using a fake passport.
The Special Bureau team at Tribhuvan Airport has escalated surveillance, particularly on passengers boarding flights to Dubai. It has come to light that Amritpal Singh may have befriended Nepalese individuals who were working or residing in Dubai, and they may assist him in hiding in Nepal.
Kupondole and Balaju Areas Under High Vigilance
According to police sources, as Amritpal is known for his involvement in the separatist religious campaign, there is a suspicion that he may seek refuge in religious areas. In Nepal, several places including Birgunj, Dhangadhi, Palpa, Syangja, and Lalitpur have a significant Sikh population. Additionally, there is a Gurdwara located at Bankatwa and Hirminiya in Banke.
As a result, security surveillance has been stepped up in the area, including Gurudwaras and other shrines. Lalitpur, in particular, has a dense Sikh community population, and special surveillance has been increased in that region.
According to a source familiar with the matter, not all Sikhs are under surveillance, but those who regularly travel between Pakistan and India's Punjab and may be involved in the Khalistan campaign in some capacity are being monitored.
The Kupandol area has a Gurudwara, while other areas such as Thapathali, Pashupati, Dnyaneshwar, Balaju, and Shobha Bhagwati have Nanak Maths (shrines). Balaju boasts the oldest Guru Nanak Math in the region. The police have also increased surveillance in the area.
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