New Delhi: Close on the heels of a blast in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district that killed two, earlier this month, the Punjab police on Sunday busted a Khalistani terror module, which the police said, was in the process of crafting strategies to “unleash terror" in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, with assistance from Pakistan.
The development assumes significance as the state police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have found increasing footprints of Khalistani terror in the region, and uncovered new forms of the group’s operations.
“It must be understood that Tarn Taran had also proved to be the hotbed of Khalistani activity in the past. The state police found that they (the group) are using drones – it needs to be examined whether they are using drones for weapons smuggling or surveillance and recce as well or not. The probe is underway," said a senior central government official, requesting anonymity.
Earlier this month, the Centre – upon the state government’s recommendation –handed over the 4 September Tarn Taran blast case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the wake of its domestic and international ramifications. The blast accused reportedly have links to Pakistan-backed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).
The official added that the Union home ministry has laid down “very strict guidelines" for and against the usage of drones, across the country, in the wake of which, “the investigation was underway to check the extent to which drones were used."
While a revival of Khalistani terror has caused concern in New Delhi, a senior official familiar with the development said the district has had a history of breeding Khalistani terrorist groups, and the possible usage of drones was being “seriously inspected."
Meanwhile, the Punjab police on Sunday said it busted a terrorist module of the now-revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) that was preparing to strike in Punjab and other adjoining states, with the module being backed by its Pakistan-based chief of the KZF, Ranjeet Singh, alias Neeta, and his Germany-based associate, Gurmeet Singh, alias Bagga.
The police have arrested four and seized a cache of arms, including five AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand grenades, with director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta saying the weapons were “suspected to have been delivered recently across the border from Pakistan through drones."
The office of the Chief minister of Punjab in a post on Twitter said, “Punjab Police busts terror module backed by Pak & Germany based group, 4 nabbed with AK-47s & other arms. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh decides to hand over case to NIA in view of international links, seeks centre’s directions to IAF & BSF (Indian Air Force and Border Security Force) to counter cross-border drone use."