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Is Babbar Khalsa plotting a terror strike in poll-bound Punjab?

By Vicky Nanjappa
January 02, 2012 12:41 IST
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As the country prepares for a set of hard fought elections in the assembly segment, security agencies have upped the vigil in states such as Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had said a few days ago that that his ministry had inputs regarding a terror strike from across the border.

Indian Intelligence Bureau officials pointed out that the threat perception is more at Punjab, and the revival of terror group Babbar Khalsa International is something that is a great cause for concern.

"They have been trying to infiltrate into various parts of Punjab and Delhi and there have been several instances where their plans have been foiled. The Ambala explosives seizure on October 12 last year is just an indication of what is in store," says an IB source.

While most of their operations have been busted, it however is not a sign that the agencies should relax. Militant groups more often than not carry out such operations with an intention of testing the waters and also the check how prepared are the security agencies. Hence, while busting such operations one must always watch out for what could lie in store in the days to come.

The Home Ministry has placed Punjab on high alert as it believes that there could be a great deal of activity as the polling begins. The motive of the BKI has always been political in nature and hence there is a great chance of them targetting the state when the polls are on.

Although the Inter-Services Intelligence trained these BKI terrorists to carry out meaningless destruction, the outfit on its own would like to wage a battle with a political cause.

Moreover, the BKI will try and send out a very strong message during the elections as it feels it is the best time to push its agenda. The other change that the BKI would be looking to make is to stay away from the ISI, as it has been noticed that the association would not go very well for their Punjab agenda.

The Home Ministry has also warned that apart from the BKI, there are other smaller pro-Khalistan groups which would also try and create a ruckus during the polls.

In this context, the interrogation report of BKI operatives Sarabpreet and Jaswinder Singh would be interesting. The duo was arrested by the Delhi police last month after the Ambala Haul probe.

The duo, in their interrogation said that they were planning on targetting Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. This was an obvious statement, as the BKI has been looking to gain an emotional ground and targetting Kumar would mean avenging the 1984 Sikh riots post the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The duo revealed details regarding setting up modules both in Delhi and Punjab.

The duo also detailed their entry into India with the help of the ISI sponsored terrorist groups. They also revealed that it was the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which provided the ammunition and the RDX for the operation. The material was sourced through Kashmir by the Lashkar modules and was picked up by members of the BKI who later tried transporting it into Delhi.

The IB says that the BKI has modules across the world.

"Their strongest international module is in Germany. Although it does not appear that they have activated any of these international modules for terror strikes, it would still be essential to keep a watch on them," said an IB source.

The international modules of the BKI have been used for funding purposes and also recruitments. It becomes essential to cut that source as a large majority of the funds are routed through donations collected abroad.
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