Chandigarh, Feb 22 (IANS) Security around top leaders and vital installations in Punjab has been increased following intelligence reports of Pakistan-based Sikh separatist groups trying to recruit youth from the US and India to revive terrorism in the state.
Reports of a meeting between officials of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Wadhawa Singh in December has raised concerns among security agencies in the state.
A top-secret intelligence communication from Punjab Police to security agencies last week states: ‘To execute this task, Wadhawa Singh is making efforts to mobilise volunteers from Punjab as also from the US, who could be made to travel to India via Malaysia or Singapore.’ IANS is in possession of the document.
Security agencies have been asked to take appropriate security measures to protect VIPs and important installations across the state.
The VIPs said to be in the target list of the terror outfits include Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Bittu, who is the Punjab Youth Congress president, is the grandson of former state chief minister Beant Singh, who is credited with wiping out terrorism in the state in the early 1990s with ‘super-cop’ K.P.S. Gill.
Beant Singh was assassinated by a human bomb here Aug 31, 1995.
The intelligence report says that Bittu is particularly being targeted by the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF).
Another intelligence report from Punjab Police has said terror groups could target shrines in Amritsar as well as the Nangal Dam and railway stations at Ropar, Ludhiana and Pathankot.
‘We will not let any of these groups revive terrorism in the state,’ Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said here.
‘We are taking the intelligence inputs quite seriously. We do a day-to-day monitoring of things. Security is being stepped up as required,’ Jalandhar Inspector General of Police Sanjiv Kalra told IANS.
In the last two months, Punjab Police have found explosives, grenades and weapons outside vital installations at various places in the state.
Several kilograms of explosives were found Jan 19 outside an Indian Oil LPG bottling plant near Nabha town in Patiala district. Two grenades were found five days later outside an Indian Air Force (IAF) establishment at Zirakpur near Chandigarh.
A car laden with explosives was found last month outside the IAF station at Halwara in Ludhiana.
Two people were arrested in Patiala Sunday. Eight kilograms of explosives and 40 gelatin sticks were recovered from their possession.
Though the terrorist-secessionist movement for Khalistan was comprehensively defeated in 1993, there remain a handful of terrorist outfits chiefly supported by Pakistan and some NRI Sikh groups who continue to propagate the ideology of Khalistan.
One of the most prominent among them is the BKI, among the oldest and most organised Khalistan terrorist groups. It is headed by Wadhawa Singh, who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan. Mehal Singh is the deputy chief of BKI. Both of them are among the 20 terrorists whom India wants Pakistan to extradite.