Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday the grenade attack at the Nirankari Bhawan in Adliwal 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.
Responding to a query, Amarinder said the attack could not be equated with the Nirankari conflict of 1978, as that was a religious matter and the Adliwal incident was purely a case of terrorism.
Violence between the Sant Nirankari Mission and traditional Sikhs on 13th April 1978 in Amritsar had left 13 dead, and sparked the subsequent wave of terrorism in the state. Sunday’s incident had no religious overtones, as per initial investigations, said the CM.
Asked to react to HS Phoolka’s statement accusing the Army chief of orchestrating the Nirankari Bhawan grenade attack to prove himself right on the revival of terrorism in the state, the CM said the AAP leader was apparently “unstable”.
“Only someone suffering from mental instability could come out with such a despicable and nonsensical statement,” said the CM after undertaking an on-the-spot assessment of the ground situation here.
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.
Police nakas had been set up in all districts and patrol parties were moving around in search of suspicious objects/activities, he said, directing the district and police administration to explore the possibility of installing CCTV cameras at all strategic points.
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.
The men, armed with a pistol and their faces covered, had forced their way into the Bhawan after taking the civil guards hostage at gun point. They then lobbed the grenade into the prayer room, killing three and injuring 15 people.