Chandigarh: In another major crackdown on terror, the Punjab Police has busted a module of the revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), the Pakistan-backed and Germany-based militant group that was conspiring to unleash a series of terrorist strikes in Punjab and adjoining states.
The police said on Sunday that it has seized a huge cache of arms, including five AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand grenades, following the raid.
Given the international links and the ramifications of the conspiracy, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to hand over further investigations in the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to ensure that the entire conspiracy is fully and expeditiously unraveled.
With initial investigations revealing the use of drones to deliver weapons and communication hardware from across the border, the Chief Minister has also urged the Central government to direct the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Border Security Force (BSF) to launch necessary counter-measures to check any further hostile drone activity in the border state of Punjab.
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta told reporters here that the weapons were suspected to have been delivered recently from across the Indo-Pakistan border using drones launched by the Pakistani establishment, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence ISI, and state-sponsored Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits working under its command.
Gupta said the large-scale infiltration appeared to have been aimed at scaling up terrorism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the Indian hinterland, in the wake of the recent developments in the Kashmir Valley.
He said the police operation was based on different inputs gathered from sources that activists of the banned KZF planned to carry out multiple terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and other states.
In an operation carried out by Amritsar AIG (Counter Intelligence) Ketan Baliram Patil along with various Punjab Police teams based in Chandigarh, four module members have been arrested and a large quantity of arms, ammunition, explosives and communication devices have been seized by the police.
Gupta said the module was backed by the Pakistan-based chief of KZF, Ranjeet Singh, and his Germany-based associate Gurmeet Singh, who had re-organized their outfit to revive terrorism in Punjab.
With the help of local sleeper cells, they had spotted, radicalised and recruited local members, besides arranging funds and sophisticated weapons from across the border for operationalising the local module members.
Those arrested have been identified as Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh.
Both Akashdeep and Baba Balwant Singh have a criminal past with multiple criminal cases against them.
Altogether five AK-47 rifles, along with 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese made .30 bore pistols, along with high magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition, nine hand grenades, five Thuraya satellite phones and Rs 10 lakh fake Indian currency notes have been recovered from them.