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Punjab on High Alert After Arrest of Four Members of Pakistan-backed Terrorist Module

(Representational image from PTI)

(Representational image from PTI)

Police said that this is the fourth case of a Pakistani terror module being busted in the state in the last 40 days.

A high alert was sounded in Punjab on Wednesday following the arrest of four more members of an ISI-backed terrorist module, which was involved in an IED blast last month in state's Amritsar district. The ISI or the Inter-Services Intelligence is Pakistan's spy agency.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered the high alert in the state, according to a government statement issued here. Police said that this is the fourth case of a Pakistani terror module being busted in the state in the last 40 days.

Pakistan-based terrorists and a Pakistani intelligence officer, 'Qasim', have been identified and named in the blast case registered in Amritsar. They are behind the module, Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said in a statement here on Wednesday. Pakistan-based International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) chief Lakhbir Singh Rode and Lakhbir Singh, a native of Rode in Punjab's Moga district currently based in Pakistan, are also behind the terror module, he said. Police said that those arrested on Tuesday have been identified as Rubal Singh, Vicky Bhutti, Malkeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh.

While Rubal was picked up from Ambala on Tuesday evening, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala in Amritsar, they said. One of their accomplice, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by the Kapurthala Police on August 20.

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Taking a serious note of the increased attempts by terror groups to disturb the state's peace, the chief minister has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, as well as the festival season and the assembly polls next year. Singh has asked the DGP to ensure that high-level security arrangements are put in place, especially in busy places, such as markets, as well as at sensitive installations across the state, the statement said.

DGP Gupta said Qasim and the ISYF chief had promised to transfer over Rs 2 lakh to the terrorist module for carrying out the blast. Rubal and Vicky were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode, he said. Rode and Qasim had tasked the four to carry out the blast, police said The blast had taken place on August 8 at around 11:30 pm at a petrol pump on the Amritsar-Ajnala Road in Amritsar.

CCTV camera footage showed that four persons had come there at about 11 pm and stayed there for a few minutes, before leaving, police said. In preliminary investigations it was found that Vicky and Rubal were tasked by Rode to place a tiffin bomb on an oil tanker to create a big explosion and cause damage, they said. On August 8, these terrorist operatives carried out a recce of the filling station during the day and placed the IED at about 11:00 pm. The blast took place around 11:30 pm, police said.

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first published:September 15, 2021, 23:50 IST