Radical preacher Amritpal Singh, who has been on the run since March 18, was taken to Dibrugarh Central Jail hours after he surrendered before the Punjab police on Sunday. Eight of his aides are already imprisoned in the highly secure jail, which is among the oldest and most-secure prisons in the northeast.
The reason why Amritpal Singh and his aides have been taken to the other end of the country is that North Indian jails are more likely to have gangsters associated with him or the separatist movement, sources said.
It is reported that the language barrier is another reason to prevent the accused from connecting with other inmates and jail staff, sources said, adding that Dibrugarh is a very secure prison. Furthermore, the local Sikh community is not sympathetic to the Khalistan movement, they said.
Dibrugarh Jail has also never had a major prison break incident in its nearly 170-year history, furthering its reputation of being an extremely secure prison. The jail's location at the centre of Dibrugarh town is also an advantage for authorities to stop any escape attempts, sources added, as opposed to a location on the outskirts of town or remote areas. Security around the jail premises has been strengthened since March 19 when four members of the 'Waris Punjab De' (WPD) were brought in. Now, the jail reportedly has 24-hour three-tier security.
"The jail compound has been surrounded by Assam Police's elite Black Cat Commandos, CRPF and other security personnel," an official told news agency PTI.
Furthermore, local media reports claim that new CCTV cameras have been installed in front of the cells holding Amritpal Singh's aides, and malfunctioning cameras have also been repaired or replaced.
Earlier on Sunday, Punjab Police Inspector General Sukhchain Singh Gill said Amritpal Singh would be taken to Dibrugarh under the National Security Act (NSA).
Intelligence agencies say Amritpal Singh has been sourcing weapons from Pakistan through its spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence and trying to divide Punjab on communal lines. Amritpal Singh had been allegedly leading young people towards "gun culture".