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Ambala explosive seizure: Lashkar-Babbar Khalsa nexus at play?

Last updated on: October 13, 2011 18:02 IST

Ambala explosive seizure: Lashkar-Babbar Khalsa nexus at play?

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Vicky Nanjappa

The seizure of a car laden with explosives at Ambala on Wednesday evening has had Intelligence agencies and the police department on its toes.

While it has been by and large believed that the car was headed towards New Delhi in order to carry out a major explosion around Diwali, another intercept says that the operation may have been a joint venture of the Babbar Khalsa International and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

But is the seizure a foiled terror plan or a pre cursor of something more to come?

There have been some very specific intelligence inputs about the coming together of the Lashkar and the BKI. In fact, a large number of BKI militants have been under the roofs of Pakistani terrorists for over a decade now.

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Image: The car from which the explosive was recovered

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There is no doubt that the BKI has been seeking the help of the Lashkar and the ISI to regroup its modules.

After the major crackdown on the BKI and the rest of the groups in Punjab most of the leaders fled to Pakistan. Leaders like BKI chief Wadhawan Singh Babbar, Khalistan Zindabad Force chief Ranjit Singh Neeta, Khalistan Commando Force chief Paramjeet Singh Panjawar, ISYF chief Lakhbhir Singh Rode and Dal Khalsa chief Gajinder Singh have their permanent addresses at Lahore.

They have been training and setting up their outfit under ISI's guidance. The ISI, in fact, has intentionally decided to very sparingly use these persons from Punjab.

The militants' interest has always been Punjab and once ready they would look to wage a war in the state all over again. However, the ISI is looking to use their cadres to strike at the major cities like national capital New Delhi.

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Image: Babbar Khalsa International logo

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Going back to the Ambala operation, the preliminary investigations suggest that the explosives were held out for the BKI by Lashkar terrorists in the Valley. The same was confirmed by Arun Kampani, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell.

A couple of months ago there were similar incidents in Punjab as well where explosives stocked by the Lashkar terrorists in Kashmir were handed over to the BKI who were planning on using the same.

It would be interesting to go back to the interrogation of two BKI cadres, Daljith Singh and Purushotam Singh who were arrested at Mohali a year ago. Their interrogation made the outfit's plan clear. They gave out details about how the two outfits have been working in tandem with each other.

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In fact, they have even said that the revival of militancy in Punjab is very much part of the much hyped-up Karachi Project. The Karachi project basically is the coming together of various outfits affiliated with India who would in turn carry out a series of attacks across the country.

The interrogation had also suggested that their leader Paramjit Singh is currently in Pakistan and has been controlling operations from there.

Until last year, the BKI and its affiliates had not focused much on terror operations per se. They were more interested in setting up their modules and also pumping in infiltrators to strengthen their base. Although the epicentre of this problem lies in Pakistan, the BKI has made constant efforts to regroup in India and be less reliant on the Pakistan soil.

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Although the ISI claimed that the ideologies of both the Lashkar and the BKI matched a great deal, the latter always used the Pakistan soil as a matter of convenience. They do realise that they need the help of a very strong force in order to restart operations in India.

The training camps for these militants are located in Lakhpat, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Mianwali, Kot, Peshawar, Attock, Shahidan Da Banga and Gulbarg.

The BKI has had many a failed attempts in the past two years. Their only success came four years ago at a theatre in Ludhiana. That was probably the first sign of the return of militancy and it had become clear during the probe that it was carried out with the blessings of Pakistan-based terrorists.

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Image: File photo of the Shringar cinema bombing in Ludhiana

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Intelligence agencies, however, warn that the alert is high around the Valley, Punjab and the areas around New Delhi.

"The BKI has been making various attempts and we would not completely rule out a slight possibility of a BKI trace in the recent Delhi High Court blast. The seizure has to be looked at in two ways. It could either be intentional as an attention diverter or it could be a genuine case which has been foiled," the IB points out.

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