The ISI is trying to revive militancy in Punjab by destabilising the border state and fanning communal unrest.
The Punjab Police have detained a few people having links to separatist organisations in connection with Sunday’s grenade attack on a prayer meeting of the Nirankari sect in Amritsar, police sources said on Tuesday.
The Sikh hardliner elements were detained in raids conducted by various teams of the state police at different places, including in Amritsar and Bathinda districts.
The police have not, however, officially confirmed or denied the detentions.
Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora had earlier said that a “local hand” could be behind the grenade attack.
Three persons were killed and 20 injured when two motorcycle-borne youths threw a grenade at a religious congregation in Adliwal village in Rajasansi area, about 15 km from Amritsar, on Sunday.
All victims were sect followers from nearby villages who had gathered for the weekly religious meeting.
On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said the grenade attack seemed to carry Pakistan’s signature, with initial investigations indicating that the grenade used was similar to the ones being manufactured by the Pakistani Army Ordinance factory.
The CM, who flew in from Chandigarh along with his cabinet colleague and Amritsar legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar to take stock of the situation, said the police had recovered similar HG-84 grenade from a terror module busted by the Punjab Police last month, indicating a high probability of the involvement of inimical forces from across the border.
Prima facie, this appears to be an act of terror by separatist forces, organised with the involvement of ISI-backed Khalistani or Kashmiri terrorist groups, said the CM, adding that his government had taken a serious note of the incident and was aggressively pursuing all angles of investigation.
Talking to mediapersons after visiting the site of the attack, Amarinder said the culprits would be arrested soon. The state government has announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for any information leading to the arrest of the assailants.
Amarinder said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was also helping in the investigations. He said certain leads had been unearthed by the police and the same were being investigated.
In response to a question, Amarinder said the state was already on high alert, with strict checking going on around landmark buildings and other vital public installations and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the CM, who visited IVY Hospital to meet the injured, has announced jobs for the kin of those killed in the attack and Rs 50000 each to the injured, in addition to their free treatment. Accompanied by top police and administrative officials, the CM went around the site of the attack and examined the spot from where the grenade was lobbed by two men.
(With agency inputs)