Death report exaggerated

LUDHIANA (Reuter) - Indian police acknowledged yesterday that a leading Sikh militant whom they thought they had killed is still very much alive.

A senior police official, Ajit Singh, who commands the Taran Taran area south of the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, said Navrup Singh Dhotian was alive and on the run. 'We are still hopeful of catching him,' Mr Ajit Singh said from Taran Taran, long a militant stronghold in Punjab.

Police announced earlier this month that they had killed Mr Dhotian along with five of his aides at a village in the Taran Taran area near the border with Pakistan. They said Mr Dhotian had just been chosen to succeed Gurjan Singh Budhsinghwala, the chief of a faction of the separatist Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF). Budhsinghwala was killed by police on 30 July. A day after the police claimed that Mr Dhotian had been killed, the KLF issued a statement saying he was still alive.

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