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Punjab Timeline - 2017



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). 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.





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