A Sikh separatist preacher on the run, sought in vain for two weeks by thousands of Indian police, has published a video in which he taunts the authorities.
Police in India's northwest state of Punjab, which have been tracking Amritpal Singh since March 18, have arrested more than 100 of his supporters and banned the assembly of more than four people in some places .
Punjab, which has 30 million inhabitants, 58% of whom are Sikhs, was deprived of mobile internet for several days.
Aged 30, Amritpal Singh has made a name for herself in recent months by demanding the creation of Khalistan, a state claimed by Sikh separatists in Punjab, whose struggle sparked violence in the 1980s and 1990s that caused thousands of dead.
Seen in Delhi, the fugitive called the police operation an "
attack on the Sikh community
" in a video posted to social media on Wednesday.
I've never been afraid of being arrested and I'm not today.
My morale is good.
Nobody can hurt me.
It is God's will
,” he said.
The video has not been independently verified, but there is little doubt about its authenticity.
It had been posted on Twitter accounts based in Britain and Canada, but the American company deleted them in India at the request of the government.
Accounts blocked by Twitter
Twitter has also blocked the accounts of several Sikh Canadians who have criticized the crackdown, including MP Jagmeet Singh, as well as several journalists for its Indian users, according to news reports.
The hunt for the preacher sparked protests by Sikhs outside Indian consulates in Britain, Canada and the United States.
His supporters smashed windows in San Francisco.
India has summoned US, British and Canadian diplomatic representatives to New Delhi to protest and demand security for Indian missions in those countries.
The preacher and supporters armed with swords, knives and guns stormed a police station in February, after an aide to Mr Singh was arrested for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping .
Attack in broad daylight
The attack in broad daylight on the outskirts of Amritsar, the city that houses the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh temples, injured several police officers and led the authorities to set off on their heels.
India has often complained to host countries about the activity of the separatist diaspora there, which according to New Delhi is likely to revive the movement thanks to massive financial aid.