Indian state extends internet ban in hunt for Sikh separatist



Indian authorities extended a mobile internet blackout across a state of about 30 million people on Monday as police hunted a Sikh preacher.

The blackout extension came as supporters of Amritpal Singh were filmed vandalising India’s consulate in San Francisco, not long after similar disturbances in London.

Authorities in the northern state of Punjab launched a major search on Saturday for Singh, who has risen to prominence in recent months demanding the creation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland.

Police said on Monday they had arrested 114 people so far but Singh’s whereabouts were unknown.

The internet outage, originally in place until noon (0630 GMT) on Monday, was extended for another 24 hours.

Videos posted online, and independently verified by AFP, showed men smashing doors

and windows of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco after they broke down barricades set up outside the building.

The phrase #FreeAmritpal had been sprayed on the property as several dozen protesters gathered outside.

An official said the Indian foreign ministry was looking seriously at the clips. India said it had summoned Britain’s top diplomat after Singh’s supporters vandalised the outside of the Indian High Commission in London.

India’s foreign ministry said there was a “complete absence” of British police and “finds unacceptable the indifference of the UK Government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK”.

The Indian government has lodged a formal protest with the British government following the alleged vandalisation of the Indian High Commission in London, according to ANI news agency.—AFP