Amarinder puts Punjab on high alert

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered high alert in the State following the arrest of four more members of an ISI-backed terrorist module involved in a bid to blow up an oil tanker with an IED tiffin bomb last.

Two Pakistan-based terrorists, including an Intelligence Officer, have also been identified and named in the case, in which one person was arrested earlier, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta disclosed on Wednesday.

Taking a serious note of the increased attempts by terror groups to disturb the State’s peace, Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, and the upcoming festival season and Assembly polls. The Chief Minister has asked the DGP to ensure high level of security, especially in busy places such as markets, as well as at sensitive installations across the State.

The DGP identified Pakistan-based International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF ) chief Lakhbir Singh, Qasim, a resident of Pakistan, and Lakhbir Singh Rode alias Baba, a native of village Rode in Punjab’s Moga district, currently based in Pakistan, as being behind the terror module.

“Those arrested yesterday have been identified as Rubal Singh, Vicky Bhutti, Malkeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh. While Rubal, also wanted in a murder case of September 1, 2021, was picked up from Ambala around 5 pm on September 14, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala, Amritsar. Their fifth accused, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by Kapurthala Police, on August 20, 2021,” he said.

“Investigations into the financial aspects are also being carried out to unravel the money trail. Rubal and Vicky Bhutti were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode. Rode and Qasim had reportedly tasked the four members of the terrorist module with blasting an oil tanker for causing maximum damage to people and property.

He said the terror attempt was made on August 8, 2021. At about 11:30 pm, the Ajnala police received information that an oil tanker parked at Sharma Filling Station Ajnala, located on the Amritsar-Ajnala Road near village Bhakha Tara Singh, had caught fire. Analysis of the CCTV footage at the filling station showed that four unknown persons had come near the petrol pump at about 11 pm and had stayed there for a few minutes, before going towards the Amritsar side.

The suspects returned at about 11:19 pm and placed some suspicious material on the tanker’s fuel tank before fleeing. Then, at about 11:29 pm, two of the suspects returned again, and within a minute, there was an explosion,” he said.

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