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Punjab Timeline - 2017

Date

Incidents

January 3

The probe carried out by NIA into the January 2, 2016 Pathankot attack finds out that JeM had plans to attack a local police station too. An intermittent delay in reaching the Pathankot Air Force in Punjab had almost prompted JeM to change their plans and attack a local Police Station instead of the air force base. The information is part of several other conversations, accessed by NIA, which took place between the JeM attackers and their handlers based in Pakistan. The conversations also include chats which took place during and after the attack between JeM handlers and other individuals based in Pakistan.

According to the probe conducted by NIA, four attackers, who belonged to Pakistan based JeM, grew weary due to a delay and had spoken about their concern to Kashif Jan, a senior JeM member through a telephonic conversation. The attackers, all of whom were Pakistani nationals, had made calls to their handler to update him about their movement once they had crossed the border. At around 3.31 am on January 1, 2016 the handler, identified as Kashif, referred as Ustadji by the attackers, made a call on a phone which the attackers had snatched from Ikagar Singh, a taxi driver who was killed by the Pakistani nationals.

January 9

The UMHA reviewed the security situation in poll-bound Punjab and alerted the state Police on possible attempts by Pakistan's ISI to foment trouble. Punjab will also see the largest deployment of SFs out of the 85000 Central Armed Police Forces personnel sanctioned by the UMHA for Assembly polls in five states. The UMHA asked the state Police to be on alert for communal incidents triggered by desecration of religious books, as had happened in 2015. The role of Pakistan was suspected in the incident. The BSF has been asked to step up vigil and keep a close tab on the activities along the border with Pakistan.

January 9

The UMHA reviewed the security situation in poll-bound Punjab and alerted the State Police on possible attempts by Pakistan's ISI to foment trouble. UMHA asked the State Police to be on alert for communal incidents triggered by desecration of religious books, as had happened in 2015. The role of Pakistan was suspected in the incident. The BSF has been asked to step up vigil and keep a close tab on the activities along the border with Pakistan. The meeting at UMHA was attended by Punjab DGP Suresh Arora. Punjab will also see the largest deployment of Security Forces out of the 85000 CAPF personnel sanctioned by the UMHA for Assembly polls in five states. "We expect violence only in Punjab and Manipur and are taking adequate measures," said a senior UMHA official.

January 20

PM Narendra Modi, UHM Rajnath Singh and BJP President Amit Shah, face threat from CPI-Maoist cadres, stated top intelligence sources. CPI-Maoist cadres have urged the leadership to target them during their campaign for Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. They have further suggest to carry out serial IED blasts in Eastern Uttar Pradesh by deploying 'suitable cadres' from outside, while promising to provide assistance to carrying out the task.

January 31

Three persons were killed and six injured in an explosion in a car near the venue of the road show of a Congress candidate at Maur Mandi in Bhatinda (Punjab) even as Police did not rule out terrorism angle in the incident that came a few days before Punjab goes to polls on February 4. The blast occurred around 8:30 PM shortly after the "jan sabha" of Harminder Singh Jassi, who is contesting from Maur assembly seat, Police said. Jassi is a relative of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

February 1

A day after three people died in a car explosion in Bathinda District of Punjab, three more succumbed to their injuries. Three persons who were standing near the car, namely Harpal Singh Pali, a Congress worker, Ashok Kumar and his daughter Barkha, died on the spot. More than 12 persons were rushed to the nearest hospital with serious injuries and three of them Jaskarn Singh Jappi, Rattandip Singh and Subhash Singla succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment in the local hospital. Eight people injured in the incident are still undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the city. A FIR was registered under Section 302, 307, 436, 427 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Oneindia.com adds that the blast was a targeted terror strike, investigators have prima facie concluded. The presence of IED and the strategic manner in which it was placed has led the Police to believe that the blast was a targeted terror strike. Investigators have, however, refused to name any one organisation responsible for the blast. From the blast site, the Police have recovered IEDs and also a pressure cooker in which the bomb had been placed. Officers inspect the vehicle in which the blast took place. The Police say that once the forensic report is out, there would be more clarity. "We have sent the material collected from the spot for forensic analysis.

February 7

NIA special court in Punjab, issued proclamation notices against JeM 'chief' Masood Azhar and three others in connection with the January 2016 Pathankot terror attack case. Apart from Azhar, the notices were issued against Abdul Rauf Asghar, Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan. According to the agency's chargesheet, Azhar along with his brother Abdul Rauf, Latif and Jan masterminded the Pathankot attack.

Latif and Jan were the key handlers of the four attackers and gave them directions all the way from their infiltration into India till the beginning of the attack. The proclamation notice, which has been issued under section 82 of Criminal Procedure Code, will have to be published in newspapers, including in Pakistan, NIA sources said. The agency had filed the chargesheet last December against Masood Azhar and the three others for plotting the terror strike that left seven Indian security personnel dead and 37 injured. The chargesheet is part of documents used by India for advocating its case for imposing UN sanctions against Azhar.

A Pakistani intruder was shot dead by BSF in Pathankot (Punjab). The infiltrator was spotted 50 metres from the International Border. Pathankot had seen a major terror attack in January 2015 when heavily-armed terrorists who had sneaked in from across the border attacked an air base.

February 13

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has wondered why JeM terrorists let go Punjab Police SP Salwinder Singh after waylaying his official vehicle and using it to reach the Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016 to wreak havoc. The multi-party committee has also asked the Government to investigate the role of drug smugglers in facilitating the terrorists' entry into India. While the 70-page report directly attacks Punjab Police, it has asked many questions about the role of the NIA.

"The committee is unable to understand why the terrorists let the SP (Salwinder) and his friend (jeweller Rajesh Verma) off, which should be thoroughly examined by NIA. The committee understands that in this attack, the role of Punjab Police is also very questionable and suspicious as even after abduction of the Punjab Police SP, the Punjab Police took long time in arriving at the conclusion that their abduction was not just a criminal robbery but it was going to be serious national security threat," the report points out.

"The committee is unable to understand why the terrorists let the SP (Salwinder) and his friend (jeweller Rajesh Verma) off, which should be thoroughly examined by NIA. The committee understands that in this attack, the role of Punjab Police is also very questionable and suspicious as even after abduction of the Punjab Police SP, the Punjab Police took long time in arriving at the conclusion that their abduction was not just a criminal robbery but it was going to be serious national security threat," the report points out.

The reports also stated, "First of all, the committee is unable to understand that in spite of terror alert sounded well in advance, how terrorists managed to breach the high-security air base and subsequently attack (it)," the report reads. It also wonders why the security agencies were so ill-prepared to act swiftly and decisively "despite concrete and credible intelligence inputs received from abducted and released Pathankot's SP and his friend and through interception of communication between terrorists and their handlers"

Joint teams of Jalandhar Rural Police and Jharkhand Police arrested a wanted CPI-Maoist cadre, Avidhesh Yadav from Alawalpur locality at Adampur city in Jalandhar District. Yadav is facing attempt to murder and cases under the Arms Act. CIA, Punjab Police, head said Jharkhand Police took Yadav back to Latehar District of Jharkhand.

March 7

Balwinder Singh (41), a citizen of India, was sentenced to 15 years in a U.S. prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring while living in northern Nevada to plot terror strikes in his home country (India). U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno also ordered Balwinder Singh to remain under lifetime federal supervision upon his release from prison after prosecutors argued that Singh has had ties to known terrorist groups in India for more than two decades.

FBI Special Agent Aaron Rouse of Las Vegas said the plot was foiled after a co-conspirator was arrested trying to board a flight in San Francisco bound for Bangkok, Thailand, with two sets of night vision goggles purchased by Singh at a Cabela's sporting goods store in Reno.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Sullivan said it's possible Singh still will be extradited to India where he faces criminal charges in connection with a terror attack on a passenger bus that killed three people in India in April 2006. "This isn't somebody who was just recruited like some of the young people who think it's really cool to go get involved with the Jihad," Sullivan said. "Mr. Singh has been involved with terrorism or terrorist organizations for over 20 years."

March 14

The air base at Pathankot in Punjab has been put under high alert after a terror threat was reported. Choppers kept vigil at the air base in Punjab after the threat and search ops were underway around the air base, report said. According to local Police, the security has been beefed up on the basis on intelligence inputs. No suspicious person/ activity has been reported so far.

April 16

Punjab Police arrested two suspected terrorists belonging to a terror module set up by a Europe-based Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) in Batala town of Gurdaspur District. Police also claimed to have recovered "a huge cache of arms and ammunition from their possession". The seizure included one 9 mm pistol, two magazines and 13 live rounds, two 32 bore pistols, along with 4 magazines and 33 live rounds and one 12 bore country made gun. The arrests have come just before Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who has been dubbed a 'pro-Khalistani' by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder, is scheduled to visit Punjab.

The two arrested, Palwinder Singh alias Ghodu is a resident of Ball in Batala and Sandeep Kumar alias Kaalu alias Shinda is a resident of Puriyan Mohalla in Batala. Police said investigations revealed that the duo was tasked with the job of creating political instability in the state by fanning communal passions.

Police officials said the module was controlled by Shaminder Singh alias Sherry, currently operating from Germany and believed to be in touch with other militant leaders based in Belgium, such as Jagdish Singh Bhoora, originally from Mohi village in Ludhiana. "These militants, based in different countries of Europe, are also wanted in various criminal cases in Punjab on charges of promoting terrorist activities in the state," a Police spokesperson said.

April 20

The 20-year-old man, identified as Muzammil alias Gazi Baba was arrested from Jalandhar, in a joint operation conducted by the Uttar Pradesh ATS and the Jalandhar Police. He is a resident of UP's Unnav and is accused of being involved in anti-national activities on the social media. The man was living in Jalandhar for two-and-a-half years and used to work in the boutique here. The police have initiated an investigation for further information in the case. Report said that Muzammil was among the suspected IS (IS) terrorists who were arrested from various places in India for in a major multi-state operation.

April 24

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has given the go-ahead for setting up an ATS to break the nexus flourishing between militants and gangsters in the state's prisons, an official said. The Amarinder government, which assumed office last month, is also mulling an effective law, such as the Punjab Control of Organised Criminals Act (PCOCA), to deal effectively with the terror spread by organised criminal gangs. A spokesperson in the Chief Minister's Office said that the ATS would have the mandate to act both against terrorist or militant outfits and criminal gangs.

April 27

The Amritsar rural police recovered FICN worth INR 7,00,0005 and arrested six persons in this regard. The scrapped notes were in the denominations of INR 500 and INR 1,000, the Police said. The accused have been identified as Sukhraj Singh, Naveen, Pawan, Arun, Rajat and Pamit. On investigation, the accused used to collect fake currency from market and get it converted into new currency notes. In a joint operation of Amritsar rural and Commissionerate, the fake notes were kept in a house in Basant Avenue.

May 12

The Indian Government has lodged a strong protest with Canada over the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Khalistan event in Toronto, where separatist elements were felicitated. "We have taken up such issues in the past with the government of Canada, and in this particular instance, without getting into details, I can tell you the practice has not been discontinued," said MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay. Two legislators, who had authored a motion in the Ontario assembly terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots 'Genocide', were felicitated at the Khalistan event. On April 30, Trudeau addressed a parade for 'Khalsa Day', which included floats glorifying Sikh militant leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amreek Singh and former General Shahbeg Singh who were killed in the siege of the Golden Temple and Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

May 15

A Pakistani female intruder was shot dead by the BSF in Bariyala in Gurdaspur Sector of Punjab in the early morning. BSF personnel spotted some suspicious movement near the fence along the Indo-Pak border, a BSF official said. He said despite repeated warnings by the BSF personnel, the intruder kept on marching towards the Indian side, after which the troops opened fire at her.

May 21

The BSF and the Punjab Police in a joint operation neutralised a terror module with links to Canada and Pakistan after arresting two suspected Khalistani terrorists. The two were arrested from the Indo-Pak border area when they were trying to recover weapons that were earlier smuggled into India from Pakistan, a Punjab Police spokesperson said. "Those arrested have been identified as Mann Singh (40) from Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur and Sher Singh (28) from Kartarpur in Jalandhar," he said. Security forces have seized an AK-47 assault rifle, five hand grenades, a modified machine-pistol (MP), five pistols and over 450 rounds of ammunition of different calibre from the duo, he said.

May 29

Four persons, including a woman, were arrested, who according to the Police, were planning to carry out targeted killings under the banner - 'Khalistan Zindabad' from Bathinda District of Punjab. They have been identified as Harbarinder Singh of Amritsar, Amritpal Kaur of Ludhiana, and Jarnail Singh and Randeep Singh of Gurdaspur. Two pistols (4 magazines and 5 live rounds) were also recovered from them. On the radar of these "highly radicalised youth" were Congress leaders Tytler and Kumar, as well as those they considered responsible for incidents of sacrilege or desecration, said a Police spokesperson. Tytler and Kumar have faced allegations related to their role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. The youths had formed a group - 'Khalistan Zindabad' - after having been radicalised over Facebook and other social media platforms by certain individuals based in Pakistan, various middle-eastern countries and the UK, the spokesman said.

June 2

The central intelligence agencies and Police in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are on their toes following an input that a highly trained handler of LeT from Pakistan, identified as Hanzia Anan, is present in India to direct attacks against civilian and military targets. According to alert shared with the SFs, Anan's plans could include parts of Srinagar, Vijaypur railway station in Jammu, industrial areas in Samba and Bari Brahmana, boys hostel at Jammu Dental College, areas along Gurdaspur-Brahmana Road to Tibri near the Indian Army camp and Gurdaspur and Dinanagar in Punjab.

Intelligence agencies have not been able to establish Anan's location yet but sources said that he may have sneaked into India recently and could be helped by local operatives to carry out the attacks. It is not known yet whether the LeT operative came to India alone or along with other cadres, but the input on his presence has seen security at all locations being increased and efforts are being made to trace him.

The Bathinda District Police have booked an unidentified person for pasting posters of Naxal [LWE] on the wall of the District Courts Complex near a local branch of OBC bank in the city. Police constable Kulwinder Singh, who has lodged a complaint, has stated that a case has been registered against an unidentified person for pasting the posters. A case under Sections 124A and 153 A of the IPC has been registered at the Civil Lines Police station. The Police are making efforts to identify the accused.

June 3

The Punjab Police arrested three terrorists having direct links with Pakistan's ISI-backed banned terror outfit, ISYF. The arrested terrorists - Gurdial Singh, Jagroop Singh, and Satwinder Singh - had been trained and tasked by the ISI to carry out terror attacks and target various 'anti-Panth and anti-Sikh forces/individuals' by Pakistan-based ISYF 'chief' Lakhbir Rode and Harmeet Singh alias Happy alias PHD.

Preliminary investigations revealed that a part of the consignment of arms and ammunition seized by the BSF on May 21, 2017 near the international border in Amritsar was supplied by the ISYF. Gurdial hails from Hoshiarpur District, and both Jagroop and Satiwinder are residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar District. While Gurdial and Jagroop were arrested from their native houses, Satwinder was apprehended at a police checkpoint close to his village in Balachaur. Police said Gurdial Singh was the chief operator of this terror module. During his last visit to Pakistan in November 2016, he had arranged a visa for Jagroop Singh and traveled to Lahore with a jatha. During interrogation, the duo revealed that Jagroop met Rode during his stay in Lahore in November, 2016.

Jagroop confessed that he was taken to the ISYF 'chief' blindfolded at an undisclosed location, where a four-day training in handling AK-47 rifles and other smaller weapons was imparted by the ISI. He was also trained in techniques of sabotaging railway tracks by loosening the securing/fastening mechanisms of fish-plates, and nuts and bolts. The Punjab Police spokesperson said that both Gurdial and Jagroop were tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in India. Rode and his associates had promised to supply arms and ammunition across the border to them in India.

June 6

The UMHA has alerted Punjab government of a possible infiltration by Pakistan-based pro-Khalistanis in the wake of surcharged atmosphere on 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar. The alert said, "According to an input, the Lakhbir Rode group has planned to strike on the event of Ghallughara (Op Bluestar anniversary) week...He (Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale's nephew Lakhbir Rode) has convened a meeting at Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. A bag full of hand grenades has been provided to two terrorists, possibly of Indian origin, to create terror in Punjab. These terrorists are planning to cross over to India before June 6," it added. Sources said that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is funding Rode to exhorting his foreign contacts to support them in launching terror operations in Punjab.

June 10

Police arrested two drug smugglers from Tarn Taran District and recovered contacts of about 130 Pakistan-based smugglers from their mobile phones. An official spokesperson said Sukhbir Singh alias Titu of Naushera Dhalla village in Tarn Taran District and Tasveer Singh alias Tassu of Dhanoya Kalan in Amritsar District both in their sixties were arrested. About 6 kg heroin, a Pakistani SIM card, two rifles and a motorcycle were recovered from them. Both used to procure drugs and other contraband from across the border through Pakistani and Indian couriers, the spokesperson said.

June 21

Punjab Police arrested two persons with links to a suspected terror module neutralised in the month of May. Gurpreet Singh and Simranjit Singh were arrested from their native villages of Jiwanwal in Faridkot and Kamalpur in Moga District of Punjab. Police have not shared any evidence on the terror activity by any of the modules neutralised last month. The operation was done by the Punjab intelligence wing. However, ADGP (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta did not confirm who the targets of these men were and whether there was any specific alert from the ministry of home affairs or Interpol. The Police claimed two .32 bore pistols, four magazines and cartridges have been seized from them. The cops said Canada-based Gurjeet Cheema during his visit to India earlier this year, gave two pistols, along with ammunition to Gurpreet, who passed on one of the pistols to Simranjit.

July 10

Following the release of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) by the Iraqi forces, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her Ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, who had been held hostage in Mosul since 2014.

July 11

Police confiscated INR 5,000 in FICN from a youth identified as Chamkor Singh, in Sudhar Rajputan village of Amritsar District. The counterfeit currency was in the denomination of INR 500. The Amritsar rural Police was investigating whether it was sneaked in from the Pakistan side or whether it was generated with the help of a computer.

July 16

The government gave families of 39 Indian abducted in Iraq a new lease of hope by saying that Indians who were abducted by IS (Islamic State) may be alive and lodged in jail in Badush in north-west Mosul. While most of the Mosul is liberated from the IS, Badush jail is still under IS control. The government said this on the basis of the intelligence inputs received from Iraqi intelligence. Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj said that Iraq minister for foreign affairs is visiting in on July 24 and is expected to arrive with more and good news about the Indians. Briefing the members of the family from the abducted, most of who hail from Punjab this information was collected by the minister of state for external affairs, VK Singh after he went to Erbil in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq- the nearest city to Mosul. Singh also held many meetings with Iraqi officials.

August 5

The Jandiala Police arrested one person, identified as Raman Kumar alias Romi along with FICNs worth of INR 25,000 from Jalandhar District. SSP, Amritsar rural, Parampal Singh said "Raman hailed from Mari Gahor Singh village in Tarn Taran. He used to make fake currency using computer and printer. The Police recovered currency notes of Rs 500 to the tune of Rs 20,000 and Rs 100 notes to the tune of Rs 5,000."

August 9

Madhya Pradesh ATS in a joint operation with Punjab Police arrested three men and busted a terror module that sources say had direct links with Pakistan's ISI backed banned terror outfit ISYF. The arrests were made from Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior city. Those arrested have been identified as Balvinder Gill, Balkar Singh and Sathyendra Rawat. The trio was picked up from their hideouts in Dabra, Chinor and Dulpura area of Gwalior. Two of them were also associated with KLF, said officials.

August 10

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh approved a proposal of the State Police to set up an elite specially trained SPG to deal with any terror attack and other threats in the State which shares border with Pakistan. "The contours of the proposed SPG, a small but effective 270-member young and dynamic team, were discussed at a meeting chaired by the chief minister," an official spokesperson said. The SPG will be set up, with a clear mandate to neutralise armed aggressors and to combat terrorism, besides infiltration, hijacking, hostage-taking and other sensitive threat situations. The CM had also suggested that a small core team from the SPG could be sent to Israel for the latest and state-of-the-art counter insurgency training.

According to the proposal discussed during the meeting, the SPG would be headed by an ADGP rank official with an IG and a DIG rank officer to assist him. The SPG would be divided into three teams, headed by a SP rank officer who would be of less than 35 years of age. The DSP rank officers in the team would be younger than 30 years and Operators would be in the age group of 18-25 years, the spokesperson said. These teams would specialise in tackling different situations and would be trained both by the Army and the NSG. Amarinder said the process to identify officers and personnel for the SPG, who would be drawn from various police departments should commence immediately.

The three men arrested on August 9 night by Madhya Pradesh ATS and Punjab Police had supplied pistols to pro-Khalistan militants for targeted political killings in Punjab. The arrested trio includes cousin of a Canada-based Khalistan separatist leader. The three were identified as Balkar Singh (45), Balwindar Singh (28) and Satyendra Rawat (26) from Dabra, Thatipur and Chinor areas of Gwalior District. According to key sources connected with the joint operation, Balkar was originally a native of Gurdaspur District of Punjab, who had migrated to Gwalior District over three decades back and was primarily engaged in agriculture.

Gurmeet Cheema, Balkar's cousin, operates an outfit Khalsa Sewa Dal (KSD) in Canada, and also has links with the terror outfits Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) which primarily operate from Pakistan. The nexus came in light, in May 2017, when two KLF militants Maan Singh and Sher Singh were arrested by BSF from near the international border in Punjab. From their possession three country-made pistols and live cartridges were seized, after which a case was lodged at Ramdas Police station of rural Amritsar.

Investigations in the case later led to the arrest of three more KLF men in Punjab, including Jagroop Singh, Gurdayal Singh and Satwindar Singh. Interrogation of the arrested men revealed that the three pistols were supplied from Balkar Singh and aides in Gwalior at the behest of Canada-based Cheema. The pistols were to be used for executing targeted killing of some politicians in Punjab as part of ISYF and KLF plans to revive the movement for separate Khalistan, a key MP ATS source told. "All three men arrested by Punjab Police from Gwalior were accused in the case lodged at Ramdas Police Station in Amritsar in May. They have already been taken to Punjab. Once their grilling is completed by Punjab Police, MP Police too might interrogate them," said MP Police's IG (Law and Order) Makarand Deuskar.

August 13

Police arrested a one person, identified as Ravinder Singh alias Babbi along with FICN with a face value of INR 8.8 lakh from Thandi Sadak locality in the Sangrur District. The accused is a resident of Mithri Budhgir village in Lambi. He is a drug addict and used to print these notes at his house using a colour printer, the Police said, adding that the notes were in denomination of 2,000.

August 16-17

The UP ATS arrested another alleged terrorist of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), identified as Jaswant Singh Kala from an Unnao farm house in Unnao District on August 17. He is wanted in multiple cases in Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab and was hiding in the farm house for the past few weeks after allegedly killing a supporter of anti-Babbar Khalsa group in Punjab around two months ago. Kala was arrested on the revelations made by his accomplice Balwant Singh, who was staying with changed identity in Lucknow for the past five years. Balwant Singh was arrested from a Gurudwara on Nadan Mahal road in Lucknow on August 16 evening. He was Granthi at the Gurudwara.

ASP of ATS, Rajesh Sahani said Jaswant Singh Kala has been one of the most active members of BKI. He said Kala is among Sikh hardliners who support pro-Khalistan groups. Sahani said Kala was involved in three sensational killings of the supporters of the anti-Babbar Khalsa groups in Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, and Faridkot and Nawa Shahar in Punjab in 2016 and 2017. He said Jaswant was earlier arrested under sedition charges and arms act from Delhi's Modi Colony in 2008 and on similar charges in 2005.

September 2

Fresh Inputs from intelligence agencies suggeststhat Sikh militants are getting more support from across the border to foment trouble in Kashmir and other parts of the county. The fresh inputs show support for Manjit Singh, 'leader' of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). The intelligence inputs say this outfit is getting more active in South Kashmir and Kathua region of the state and in Punjab. Sikh radical elements sheltered in Pakistan are engaged in anti-India activities such as providing financial support to terror activities.

September 17 The STF arrested three members of the BKI group along with 2.5 kilograms of Heroin from Ludhiana city in Ludhiana District of Punjab. The STF arrested Gurlal, who, along with two other men, was going to Firozepur to supply the Heroin, sources said.
September 19

In joint operations that last all of last week, Punjab Police and UP ATS have arrested six suspects who had non-bailable warrants issued against them for their role in high-security Nabha jailbreak in Patiala (Punjab) in November 2016. Police said those arrested also have links with outlawed group BKI.

One BKI suspect, identified as Harpreet Singh alias Jitendra Singh Tony was arrested from Mailani area in Lakhimpur Kheri District. Another BKI suspect, Satnam Singh was arrested by the joint team of the ATS, Punjab and local Police from Sikanderpur area of the Lakhimpur Kheri District. Sources said Police are close to busting a network of Sikh militants in the region, including from Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur and Lakhimpur Kheri. UP ATS IG Asim Arun said, "One of the terror suspects, Balwant Singh, who was arrested in Lucknow led us to Jitendra Singh Toni who is wanted for supplying arms during the armed jailbreak in November last year."

According to Police officers involved in the investigations, Baba Babwant Singh, a resident of Naushehra Pannuan in Punjab's Tarn Taran District, was held on September 16 from Lucknow, while Jaswant Singh alias Kala, a resident of Sonewala village in Punjab's Muktsar Sahib district and a close aide of former BKI chief Jagtar Singh Hawara, was arrested from Unnao District the same day. Both were also wanted in several cases of targeted killings. Their interrogation led to more arrests from the region.

Sources added that Harjinder Singh Khalon, a Sikh leader from Pilibhit, and his aide Amandeep, who is from Udham Singh Nagar, were arrested from Lucknow based on inputs provided by Baba Balwant Singh. Punjab ATS IG Vijay Pratap Singh confirmed the involvement of Harjinder Singh, Amandeep and one Sandeep Tiwari, who was arrested from Sultanpur, in the armed attack on Nabha jail on November 27, 2016. "The arrested accuseds were involved in the armed offensive during the Nabha jailbreak. We are also trying to trace one of the key conspirators of the jailbreak, Gopi, who was last seen on September 10 in Shahjahanpur but managed to flee," Singh said. Soon after the jailbreak last year, west UP had come under the radar of Punjab Police and was dubbed as a safe haven for suspects linked to the banned outfit. Hours after the jailbreak, main conspirator Parvinder Singh was arrested from Shamli in Uttar Pradesh. At least 10 armed men had broken into the premises of the high-security Nabha jail and freed six men, including Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Harminder Mintoo, on November 27.

September 19-20

The BSF shot dead two Pakistani intruders along the Indo-Pakistan border in the intervening night of September 19-20 when they refused to surrender while crossing over to Indian territory. DIG BSF J S Oberio said the BSF shot dead two Pakistani intruders when they ignored warnings and kept marching towards BSF troops aggressively. The incident took place along the Indo-Pak border in Ajnala sector of Amritsar at Border Out Post (BOP) Shahpur where BSF troops spotted two Pakistani nationals who crossed over to India and refused to surrender. The border guarding force said it has recovered the bodies of the two. An AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol and over two dozen bullet rounds were recovered from them. A BSF spokesperson said that a Pakistani SIM card, four kilogram of heroin and Pakistani currency worth PKR 20,000 were recovered from the two. "When challenged by BSF troops, infiltrators fired on ambush line with automatic weapons. Taking cover, the fire was appropriately retaliated and infiltrators were neutralised near the border fence," the spokesperson said.

September 30

The counter intelligence wing of Punjab Police arrested seven militants of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) from Moga District. Sources said four of the accused are aged between 18 and 23 years. One is a minor. Commissioner of Police R N Dhoke said, "BKI was planning to carry out subversive activities in Punjab, especially against anti-Khalistan and anti-Sikh groups. These seven were handpicked by England-based Surinder Singh Babbar, who approached them through social networking sites. The arrested have no criminal background. They joined BKI a few months ago and were preparing for a big strike in Punjab." Police have also recovered one .32 bore pistol with 20 cartridges and two .315 bore country-made pistols with 13 cartridges from their possession.

October 6

A court in Jaipur (Rajasthan) awarded life sentence to Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) terrorist, Harnek Singh for the abduction of Congress leader Ram Niwas Mirdha's son Rajendra more than 22 years ago. Additional District Judge Pramod Malik also slapped a penalty of INR 20,000 on the convict. Harnek Singh, who belonged to terrorist outfit KLF, has been in jail since he was arrested by the Punjab Police in 2004. He was brought to Jaipur and arrested in this case on February 28, 2007. The Additional District Judge had held Singh guilty in the abduction case on October 5 and reserved the order on quantum of punishment for today (October 6).

Rajendra, was abducted on February 17, 1995 while out for his morning walk. He was later rescued by the Police in an operation.

October 20

For the first time, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) general secretary Gopal Singh Chawla publicly admitted to have been part of separatist 'Khalistan movement' and have also undergone training for the purpose. A video of Chawla has surfaced on social media on October 20 where he is seen as saying "I have been a part of Khalistan movement, I have also undergone training, I have been abusing India and its prime minister, if we want to get rid of India, we have to help this organization (MML- Milli Musli League)". Chalwa is seen addressing a gathering from the platform of MML, a political wing of the banned JuD, a front of anti India LeT.

PSGPC general secretary Chawla in his speech addressed in Punjabi said that PSGPC receives minimum of five to seven thousand pilgrims every year from India. "We look into their eyes , out of those seven thousand pilgrims at least two thousand are RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] agents and we see a fear of Hafiz Saeed Sahib in their eyes". PSGPC's controversial general secretary also raised slogans in praise of Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwala and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and said his organization (Punjabi Sikh Sangat) and supporters from UK and Canada would help MML. Calling terror mastermind as his 'Amir' (Ruler), Chalwa bestowed praise upon Hafiz Saeed saying that "Unha Indians dia nazra vich maray Aamir Hafiz Saeed Sab da khauf hunda hai" (There is fear of my Aamir Hafiz Saeed Sab in the eyes of those Indians)" he said.

October 31

The Punjab Police claimed that the militancy is returning to the State as it has busted many groups and arrested many people who were planning to carry out terror activities in the State. It said that several of the arrested men were planning to kill those who wrote or spoke against Sikhism. The latest such case involves seven youth who were arrested from Ludhiana on September 29 for allegedly being a part of the banned terror outfit BKI. However, human rights activists and the accused's kin have called these arrests the Police's way to divert public attention from real developmental issues.

The Police said that although the youth have no criminal past, it found incriminating evidence against them. It said that the seven accused were arrested for trying to disturb law and order by getting overactive on social media platform. The Police also recovered a 32 bore pistol, two 315 bore pistols and cartridges from the accused. The arrested accused were Kuldeep Singh alias Rimpi (29), who worked as a granthi (one who reads religious books in a Gurudwara) in Basti Jodhewal of Ludhiana, Jasvir Singh alias Jassa (32), of village Balipur of Tarn Taran; Amanpreet Singh alias Amna (21), of Shakti Nagar of Jalandhar; Onkar Singh (30), and Jugraj Singh of village Jhadu; and Amritpal Singh (30), of Amritsar. The seventh is a minor and a resident of Moga in Punjab, the Police said.

Ludhiana Police Commissioner RN Dhoke said, "The youth have no criminal background but their operations were funded by Surender Singh Babbar of BKI who operates from England." A case had been registered against the seven under the UAPA, 1967 and the Arms Act. The Police said that it has proof of the arrested accused were talking to terrorists and working for them as sleeper cells. Dhoke added that three of them were school dropouts and were helping others in identifying 'anti-Khalistan' pages on social media platforms and the people running them. The Police also said that it has deactivated their social media accounts, which contains a lot of inflammatory content. "We have clinching evidence and if needed, we will bring members of Babbar Khalsa International to Punjab from the United Kingdom," Dhoke added.

November 7

Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that his Police force had cracked the string of targeted killings of religious leaders in the State by busting a terror module managed by Pakistan-based ISI. Amarinder said ISI was working in tandem with gangsters and 'cells' abroad to destabilise Punjab. The victims include RSS leader Brig Jagdish Gagneja (Retd), RSS activist Ravinder Gosain, Pastor Sultan Masih and two Dera Sacha Sauda supporters. Most of the killings took place in Ludhiana, Khanna and Jalandhar.

Amarinder said that four persons have been arrested in this connection. This included UK national Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, who had landed in India on October 2. Others are Jimmy Singh, who had stayed in the UK for several years, and alleged gangster Dharmendra alias Guggni, who was lodged in Nabha jail and had supplied weapons to the killers. The fourth accused, who is believed to be the main shooter in various cases, was caught on November 7th afternoon. Police officials said his identity cannot be revealed at this juncture as he is still being interrogated. Amarinder said, "Forensic and ballistic evidence in these cases matched, which confirms the hand of this module. The module was using encrypted mobile software and their main handler was the ISI, besides cells in other countries. The objective was to further ISI's agenda of carrying out anti-India activities to fan communal tension." Interrogation of the four conspirators showed that they had met and were trained in various places abroad and had been using encrypted mobile software and apps for communication with handlers based in Pakistan and some western countries.

November 8

The terror module busted by the Punjab Police on November 5 was allegedly operated by Pakistan-based KZF militant Harmeet alias Happy alias PHD, while the network of all operatives was spread in the UK, France and Italy. Happy's name had figured in the questioning of the members of the previous terror modules also. The accused whose arrest was announced on November 7, Jimmy Singh of Jammu, Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi and gangster Dharmendra alias Guggni, were being questioned for further leads. Police sources claimed that the questioning had revealed they operated with a new modus operandi in which sub-groups of the module worked on different aspects of the killings.

The sources said unlike the usual functioning of the Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), this terror module operated with one group arranging the weapons, another radicalising the youths, yet another finalising the targets and conducting recce, while the fourth carrying out the killings. The questioning has revealed that after the killings, the assailants quietly went about their life. "None of them had a criminal record. They were not known criminals or activists of a specific ideology," said a Police official. Though the Police are tight-lipped about the ongoing investigations into the links and activities of the terror module, the sources said the assailants had revealed they were influenced into killing of Hindu leaders by tales of atrocities on Sikhs during 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The shooter who has confessed to his involvement in the seven targeted killings in Punjab, including RSS leaders Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd.) and Ravinder Gosain, since last year has been identified as Ramadeep Singh alias Raman Canadian (28), a resident of Chuharwal in Ludhiana District. After his arrest on November 7, Ramandeep was produced in Baghapurana court on November 8 and has been remanded to seven days of Police custody. During his interrogation, Ramandeep revealed that he had selected his targets to carry out killings at the behest of his ISI handlers and some of the KLF leaders, who have taken refuge in Pakistan, so as to create communal disturbances to destabilise the State. Punjab DGP Suresh Arora interrogated four suspects for the murders of religious figures that took place in the State in the past months. Arora arrived at Moga (Moga District) a day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh declared that the high profile cases of the killings of religious figures had been solved with the arrest of four persons. Amarinder had also claimed that the gang members were being funded by Pakistan-based ISI. Harminder Singh Mintoo of the KLF and one of the main accused in Nabha jailbreak case is also learnt to have been brought to Moga on November 8 for questioning. Moga SSP Rajjit Singh confirmed that five suspects, including Mintoo, were in custody of the Moga Police and DGP Suresh Arora had questioned them personally.

November 9

The SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said that "as per a SC ruling, there is nothing wrong in raising the demand for Khalistan", a separate Sikh nation, and that "it is neither unconstitutional nor an offence". He was talking to mediapersons in Amritsar in Punjab at Guru Ramdas Medical College where he attended a function along with Punjab's Health Minister Brahm Mohindra. Badungar was replying to a question related to election of a Sikh as Mayor of Hoboken city in the US and reacting to alleged 'labels such as terrorists and Khalistani attached with Sikhs.'

He was apparently referring to the SC verdict in a case about two men having shouted some slogans in?Chandigarh after assassination of Indira Gandhi in Delhi in 1984. The court had held that mere shouting of slogans did not amount to sedition unless there was incitement to violence. When specifically asked to comment on some Sikh leaders living abroad being termed 'Khalistanis', he referred to movements going on in other parts of the world: "Irish people have been fighting against England. Similarly, we can consider the conflict between South Korea and North Korea. The conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims in as many as 37 countries is another instance... This is not only an issue about Sikhs, but also of others."

The Punjab Police identified the fourth accused of the terror module as Ramandeep Singh, the sharp-shooter seen in CCTV footages with covered face on a motorcycle. Sources said Ramandeep had revealed the name of KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintoo during his interrogation, following which the Moga Police brought him from the Nabha jail on a production warrant. After bursting the ISI terror module, the Police on November 9 claimed to have solved seven out of the eight cases of targeted killings in the State. The other three were Jimmy Singh of Jammu, Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, a UK national, and Dharmender alias Gugni, an infamous gangster from Meharban village of Ludhiana.

In the meantime, the Moga Police produced Mintoo and the four accused before the duty magistrate in Baghapurana and procured their custody for five days.

November 10

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora claimed that the handlers of the ISI-backed terror module behind targeted killings of religious leaders in the state were based in Italy, the UK and Canada. "The role of the KLF is being investigated. Although it is too early to share details, funding for the module from foreign sources has been confirmed," he said. The DIG made the announcement after the arrest of a second alleged sharp-shooter in the case on November 10th morning. Hardeep Singh Shera (21) of Fatehgarh Sahib is believed to be directly involved in at least three of the eight murders. Shera and the second jailed sharp-shooter, Ramandeep Canadian, were reportedly contacted on Facebook. So far, five people have been arrested over their alleged involvement in the killings. Those arrested include a UK national, Jagtar Singh Johal.

Shera is believed to have fled to Italy six days after he allegedly killed Gagneja on August 6, 2016. His passport has revealed that he would leave the country after each killing and return when the 'dust settled'. Officials were reluctant to give details, but said his passport bore visas for 'many nations'. Arora said Shera tried to fire at the Police who confronted him at a gym in Fatehgarh Sahib on November 10. However, he was quickly overpowered. He has no criminal record. The DGP said the motorcycle used in Gagneja's killing was recovered from a canal after Shera gave them the details. "Since the conspiracy was executed by trained operatives, the perpetrators managed to hide their footprints quite well," said a Government official, "The modus operandi...was to kill RSS and other leaders... in the hope of triggering communal disharmony in Punjab."

Shera had met KLF 'commander' Harminder Singh Mintoo in Italy three years ago. "Hardeep was adopted by his paternal uncle. He was just 18 when he met Mintoo in Italy. Mintoo had stayed at Hardeep's place in Italy for 21 days and then he also tried to influence him with Khalistani ideology. He tried to radicalise him and asked him to join KLF but he refused then. However, later Hardeep's relationship with his foster father (paternal uncle) turned sour and then he again contacted Mintoo. Probably, he needed money. They started interacting through Skype. Both Ramandeep and Hardeep were hired through Facebook for these killings," said Inspector Jangjit Singh Randhawa, SHO (station house officer), Baghapurana Police station and investigating officer in an illegal weapons case of 2016 in which first two accused- Jimmy Singh and Jagtar Singh (UK-based) - were arrested and following their interrogation, the shooters were traced.

November 13

Absconding gangster Saraj Sandhu, in a post on a social media website, Facebook claimed to have killed the Hindu Sangharsh Sena leader Vipan Sharma in Amritsar on October 30. The Punjab Police had not included Vipan Sharma's murder in the list of targeted killings of religious leaders in the State which they had solved a week ago by busting a terror module managed by Pakistan's ISI agency. Saraj Sandhu, who is main accused in the Amritsar case, has been on the run after the murder. He allegedly also posted on his Facebook account on November 13 that the 'killing should not be linked with any religion.' "I want to tell my friends that the murder of Vipan Sharma which took place on October 30 on Amritsar-Batala road was committed by me," Sandhu allegedly admitted in his Facebook post, which has now been deleted. The incident comes just days after a Punjab gangster-turned-activist uploaded a Facebook video from Faridkot jail.

Amritsar DCP (investigation) Jagmohan Singh, said, "I do not believe that the gangster Saraj Sandhu had himself put this post on his Facebook account. It seems to have been done by someone else. But we are investigating the case." It is learnt that the Amritsar Police have brought Monday's (November 13) incident into the knowledge of its cyber-crime cell so as to ascertain as to who is behind the Facebook post.

November 15

A local court at Baghapurana in Moga District of Punjab extended the Police remand of the alleged hitman Ramandeep Singh and KLF 'commander' Harminder Singh Mintoo arrested in connection with a series of targeted killings in Punjab. Ramandeep's Police remand has been extended for three days till November 18 and Mintoo's for two days till November 17. Moga Police sources said that during his interrogation, Ramandeep had named 'PHD' and 'Baiji', their two accomplices abroad, and now the Police will be interrogating him further to know their real names and locations. "These are the secret code words. We are now tracing their real names and location," said a source. As per initial Police probe, 'Baiji' is related to KLF 'commander' Mintoo and is one of his closest aides handling all his operations after Mintoo was arrested from Thailand in 2014.

The Police also told the court they had to interrogate Ramandeep about how they procured illegal weapons from Meerut and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Inspector Jangjit Singh, SHO at Baghapurana Police Station, said, "Ramandeep has revealed they were procured weapons from Saharanpur and Meerut in UP. Mintoo is being questioned about how much funding came from abroad through his pro-Khalistan network." So far, the Punjab Police have arrested five men in connection with the targeted killings including that of RSS leaders Jagdish Gagneja, Ravindra Gosain, Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta, church pastor Sultan Masih, Hindu Takht leader Amit Sharma among others. The arrested five are Jagtar Singh alias Jaggi, Jimmy Singh, Ramandeep alias Raman Canadian, Hardeep alias Shera, jailed gangster Dharmendra Singh Ghuggni and Mintoo.

November 18

Punjab Police are investigating the role of BKI member Gursharan Bir Singh in the series of targeted killings of religious leaders in the state over the past two years. Gursharan is also wanted in the murder of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat head Rulda Singh in Patiala on July 28, 2009. Punjab DGP Suresh Arora said that the State Police has got some leads about Gursharan's involvement while interrogating the men arrested for their alleged role in the killing of at least eight people, including former Punjab RSS vice-president Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) in Jalandhar. The State Police had recently arrested UK resident Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi in the targeted killings case. He was arrested from Jalandhar.

DGP Suresh Arora said the Police are investigating the alleged links between Pakistan-based Harmeet Singh who is believed to be running ISI-back ISYF and another fugitive Rampreet Singh alias Romy who is in Hong Kong. Romy is believed to have links with gangsters in Punjab and has been named as an accused in the 2016 Nabha jailbreak case as well. Police believe Harmeet trained the men involved in the targeted killings.

 

 

 

 

 
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