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Amritsar attack planned in Lahore, Canada-based pro-Khalistani groups involved too: Probe

A high-level meeting convened by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, reviewed the Nirankari Bhawan blast and came to the conclusion that the entire plot was hatched across the border with the direct involvement of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence.

Updated: Nov 21, 2018 09:39:26

By Shishir Gupta

Members of Guru Granth Sahib Satkar committee gathered outside the office of IG Border range SPS Parmar near Kitchlew chowk to meet him regarding detention of their colloquies in connection with grenade attack at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. (Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)

Investigations into the Amritsar grenade attack on Sunday have revealed that the strike was planned in Lahore with the involvement of pro-Khalistani Sikh diaspora in Germany and Canada, according to top security officials in New Delhi who spoke on condition of anonymity. The officials characterised this as a desperate attempt to revive militancy in Punjab and said it might not work. According to the officials, a local module, broadly identified (one person has been arrested the officials said), was used for the attack with an Islamist network used for transfer of weapons (in this case, Pakistan-made grenades) to the actual perpetrators.

A high-level meeting convened by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, who himself directly handled Sikh militancy in 1980-90s, reviewed the Nirankari Bhawan blast at Rajasansi in Amritsar on Tuesday and came to the conclusion that the entire plot was hatched across the border with the direct involvement of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. The meeting was attended by Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, Punjab Director General of Police, Suresh Arora, and Intelligence chiefs. The attack in Amritsar comes amidst intelligence that Pakistan has activated the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) network to strike in the Indian hinterland before the general elections next year.

Senior government officials told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that a forensic analysis of the HG-84 grenade used in the blast also point towards Pakistan with definitive markings on the pin. However, there is no panic within the national security establishment the officials added because such incidents happen occasionally in Punjab but that there is no chance of the state veering towards militancy again or the local populace supporting the separatists. The officials said the grenade is a fragmentation-type one used against personnel.

Even as the internal security establishment and Punjab Police are trying to piece together the entire chain of events, intelligence agencies have pointed to the possible role of the network established by Kashmiri Al Qaida commander, Zakir Musa, who studied in Mohali from 2010 to 2013. According to the security officials, the blast was planned with the help of some fringe elements of the Sikh diaspora that helped identify locals to be used in the attack and funding it. The officials added that the locals may have also been mercenaries. The weapons and grenades were arranged either through the Musa network or using Jaish couriers from across the border.



First Published: Nov 21, 2018 07:39:55

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