Punjab Police on Monday said it has solved a case involving a recent grenade blast outside the gate of the Army cantonment in Pathankot by busting a major terror module backed by the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) group with the arrest of six of its operatives.
The Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar police has also seized six hand grenades, one 9 mm pistol and one .30 bore rifle, along with live bullets and magazines, from the arrested men, Director General of Police (DGP) V K Bhawra said here.
No casualty was reported in the blast that took place in November last year in front of the Triveni gate of the cantonment in Pathankot.
The ISYF is supported by Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.
The six men were arrested from different villages in Gurdaspur district. They were identified as Amandeep alias Mantri of Lakhanpal village, Gurwinder Singh alias Gindi of Kharal village, Parminder Kumar alias Rohit alias Rohta of Kharal village, Rajinder Singh alias Malhi alias Nikku of Gunnupur village, Harpreet Singh alias Dholki of Gotpokar village and Raman Kumar of Ghazikot village, according to a statement issued by the DGP's office.
"In two instances, some unidentified persons had hurled hand grenades at Pathankot -- one grenade was hurled outside Triveni Dwar, outside the gate of Army cantonment at Pathankot, on November 21, 2021 at about 9 pm, while another one was hurled near Chakki Pull on November 11, 2021 at about 9:30 pm," the statement said.
Separate FIRs in connection with the incidents were registered at the Pathankot Division 2 and Division 1 police stations respectively, it added.
The DGP said "during the preliminary interrogation, accused persons revealed that they were directly in touch with self-proclaimed chief of ISYF (Rode) Lakhbir Singh Rode and his close aides, identified as Sukhmeetpal Singh alias Sukh Bhikhariwal and Sukhpreet alias Sukh, for planning terrorist attacks".
"The entire cache of the recovered hand grenades, arms and ammunition was pushed in from across the international border by Lakhbir Rode and arrested accused persons had been tasked for further attacking the pre-identified targets, which were mainly police and defence establishments, religious places etc.," he said, adding that the accused have also confessed to have lobbed the two hand grenades in Pathankot.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Kanwardeep Kaur said an FIR has been lodged under the relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act at the Nawanshahr City police station, and "further investigations are on".
The role of Lakhbir Rode was also found in the killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh, who had fought against terrorism in Punjab, at Bhikhiwind in Amritsar district on October 16, 2020, besides in the recovery of tiffin IED, RDX, arms and ammunition from his relative Gurmukh Singh Rode from Jalandhar in August 2021, the statement said.
Sukhmeetpal Singh alias Sukh Bhikhariwal, who is presently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail, was also involved in the killing of Balwinder Singh and in a murderous attack on a Hindu outfit leader, Honey Mahajan, at Dhariwal on February 10, 2020.
"He was deported from Dubai in December, 2020. Sukh Bhikhariwal provided foot-soldiers, arms and ammunition, logistics, funds etc. for execution of these crimes," according to the statement.