India asks Nepal to help nab separatist leaderOfficials say they have no information of Amritpal Singh hiding in Nepal, but have asked border police posts to remain on the lookout for him.
Is pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh hiding in Nepal?
While some Indian media reports claimed that Singh may have sneaked into Nepal by disguising himself as a sadhu (holy man), the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu wrote to two Nepal government agencies on Saturday asking them not to allow Singh to travel to a third country via Nepal.
“The Embassy of Republic of India in Nepal presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government of Nepal, and has the honor to inform that Amritpal Singh, an Indian national who is on “lookout circular” in India, may try to escape through Nepal on an Indian passport or fake passport of any country,” the embassy’s letter to one of the government agencies read.
“Amritpal Singh is currently hiding in Nepal,” the embassy has categorically mentioned in its correspondence sent to the Department of Consular Services through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A copy of the letter was also shared with the Director General of the Department of Immigration.
Senior officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Nepal Police, however, said they do not have information of Singh hiding in Nepal.
“No, we have no such information,” Nepal Police spokesperson DIG Poshraj Pokharel said, adding, “Also, no instruction has been given to any police unit by the headquarters to conduct a search for him.”
“A week ago also, we had received similar kind of communication and correspondence from the Indian side expressing suspicions that Singh could be hiding in Nepal,” a senior security official said.
“Now they have sent another letter asking us not to allow him to flee from Nepal.”
Nepal Police has already alerted its units in bordering areas, for example in the Sudurpaschim Province, to be on the lookout for Singh.
“In coordination with their Indian counterparts, some of our security units have already launched a manhunt particularly in western part of the country,” a senior security official said.
Some Indian media outlets have even reported that Singh might have already fled to Thailand.
A week after the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against Singh and his supporters, some Indian media reports are now speculating that the pro-Khalistan leader may now try to enter Nepal.
According to Livemint, an Indian news website, an alert has also been issued along the international border and reports suggest that the fugitive leader was last seen in Uttar Pradesh.
According to an India Today report, the radical preacher was last seen in Lakhipur Kheri area in India’s Uttar Pradesh state on March 23.
CCTV footage that emerged on Saturday—purportedly from Patiala—also showed Singh and his key associate Papalpreet Singh walking through the streets while talking on a mobile phone.
“Based on inputs from intelligence agencies that Amritpal can enter Nepal, we have issued an alert on the border. Posters with their pictures have also been put up on the border in Rupaidiha. We are closely monitoring the movement of people along the border," a Livemint report quoted a Sashastra Seema Bal commandant as saying on Friday.
Prakash Mani Poudel, director general at the Department of Consular Services and Jhalakram Adhikari, director general at the Department of Immigration, confirmed to the Post that they had received the communication, passport details and photographs of Singh.
“As per the request of the Indian Embassy, we have already put his name on the ‘alert list’ at the immigration department and alerted the immigration offices concerned,” Adhikari told the Post, while adding that Nepali officials have no information of Singh hiding in Nepal.
Along with the letter, the Indian Embassy has also provided a few images of his possible looks and Indian or foreign passports that Singh can use to travel outside Nepal. According to the embassy, Singh is 30 years old, looks fair wheatish and above six feet tall.
“The esteemed ministry is requested to inform the Department of Immigration, government of Nepal not to permit Amritpal Singh to travel through Nepal for any third country and arrest Amritpal Singh if he attempts to escape from Nepal using Indian passport or any fake passport under intimation of this mission,” the embassy said in the letter.