Criticizing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab over the law and order situation, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Wednesday that ever since the new government has been formed in Punjab, the situation has been continuously deteriorating.
Mr Baghel's remarks came amid the ongoing situation over pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh, who has been declared a fugitive by the Punjab Police.
"Punjab was peaceful for years but since the new government has been formed, the condition is continuously deteriorating. The way incidents have happened is very unfortunate because it is a border state, and this type of incident cannot be ignored," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister said.
Punjab Police on Tuesday issued a lookout circular (LOC) and non-bailable warrant (NBW) against 'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh, the fugitive Khalistani sympathizer.
Addressing a press conference, Inspector General of Police (Headquarters), Punjab Sukhchain Singh Gill said that Amritpal Singh, a Khalistani sympathiser, has not been arrested yet.
"We are making all efforts to arrest him. We are hopeful that we will arrest him soon...It is difficult to say that. Punjab Police is receiving full cooperation from other states and central agencies. A total of 154 persons have been arrested for disturbing peace and harmony in the state," the IGP said.
"A lookout circular (LOC) and non-bailable warrant (NBW) have been issued against Amritpal Singh, who remains a fugitive and efforts are being made to arrest him," said the Information and Public Relations Department Punjab government.
As part of its efforts to arrest Amritpal Singh, Punjab Police released his pictures on Tuesday. One of the pictures shows Amritpal Singh as clean-shaven.
IGP Gill requested people to help them in Amritpal's arrest.
"There are several pictures of Amritpal Singh in different attires. We are releasing all of these pictures. I request you display them so that people can help us to arrest him in this case," said Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sukhchain Singh Gill.
According to a preliminary probe, police said he visited a Gurdwara in Jalandhar district while on the run and escaped on a motorcycle after changing clothes.
According to CCTV visuals, Amritpal Singh was seen escaping in an SUV in Jalandhar on March 18. He is still on the run.
Amid the crackdown on 'Waris Punjab De' and the continuing manhunt for its chief, Amritpal Singh, and his aides, the four accused persons who helped the Khalistani leader escape were on Wednesday taken from Shahkot police station in Jalandhar to court.
The four accused persons were identified as Manpreet, Gurdeep, Harpreet, and Gurpej.
On what transpired at Nangal Ambian Gurudwara where Amritpal fled with his aides, SSP Jalandhar Rural, Swarandeep Singh said they escaped to a gurudwara and overpowered a Granthi and forced him into giving them clothes. They spent about 40-45 minutes there, he added.
"When police chased them, they escaped to a gurudwara and overpowered a Granthi, forcing him to give them clothes. They spent about 40-45 minutes at the gurdwara. They asked for motorbikes to be arranged and escaped," he said.
"We have learned over the course of our investigation that they asked a man named Gaurav Gora for motorcycles. One of the motorcycles is registered in the name of his father," he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, the bike on which Amritpal fled was recovered by Punjab Police, the Jalandhar SSP said.
Previously, Amritpal was seen in CCTV footage fleeing in an SUV in Jalandhar on March 18.
Punjab Police IG (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill said, "He is still on the run. We are making all efforts to arrest him. We're hopeful that we'll arrest him soon...It is difficult to say that. Punjab Police is receiving full cooperation from other states and central agencies".
Earlier, a local villager in Jalandhar said they got to know on Tuesday that Amritpal Singh and his accomplices came to the village on March 18.
"We got to know today morning when the police came that Amritpal along with his associates was here in the village on March 18. He changed clothes at the local gurudwara, had food, and then went away on a motorcycle. Babaji who's being questioned by police now had admitted that Amritpal came here," the villager said.
Locals of the Jalandhar village claimed Amritpal Singh's presence in their village on March 18. A CCTV video has emerged sourced from the local villagers. Punjab police have not officially confirmed this.
The video shows a car and men waiting on a bike near a field. Another bike is parked nearby and as the first bike moves with three riders, the other also readies to leave.
He also said that National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked against Amritpal Singh.
Jalandhar Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal, on Saturday late evening, confirmed that the radical leader had been declared a "fugitive".
Punjab Police on Saturday launched an operation against Amritpal Singh and his aides.
The police action came almost over three weeks after Amritpal's supporters clashed with uniformed personnel at the Ajnala police station on February 23 on the outskirts of Amritsar, demanding the release of one of Amritpal's close aides, Lovepreet Toofan.
Thousands of his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station, flashing swords and high-calibre firearms and threatening the police with dire consequences if they did not release Lovepreet Toofan, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting and abducting a man.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)