The arrest of two operatives of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) over a week ago has confirmed what Delhi Police have been suspecting for a while now -- that the Punjab-based terror outfit is on the lookout for a major strike to announce its revival.
"Delhi Police arrested two Babbar Khalsa operatives who were planning to assassinate some political and religious leaders. We are investigating to confirm how many people are working with the group," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ashok Chand told IANS.
Sarabpreet and Jaswinder Singh, in their early 30s, were arrested in a joint operation by Delhi Police's Special Cell and Crime Branch Dec 22.
The police claimed that these operatives were planning strikes in Delhi and Punjab by reviving the BKI modules. While one was arrested in Delhi, the second was nabbed from Ropar district in Punjab.
Police were on the alert after Delhi Police had found a Tata Indica car with five kilograms of RDX outside the Ambala Cantonment railway station in Haryana in October.
Investigations revealed that the consignment was meant for BKI operatives and had come through Jammu and Kashmir-based terror groups.
"The explosives had been brought by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and were meant to be used by BKI in Delhi," Arun Kampani, deputy commissioner of police (Special Cell), told IANS.
Chand said: "After the end of militancy in Punjab, the remaining BKI operatives went underground. But with the recovery of the RDX from Ambala and the arrest of these two operatives it is clear that the BKI is trying to revive itself."
In Punjab, the state police have been trying to keep a tab on the activities of certain modules of terrorist groups formerly active in the state during the period of terrorism (1981-1995).
"We have arrested 25-30 people who were trying to revive terrorism in the state in the last few months. The masterminds of the groups are based in countries like Pakistan and Germany," a Punjab Police officer told IANS in Chandigarh, requesting anonymity.
"They have been trying to recruit new volunteers. However, we have been able to crush most of their plans," he added.
Three suspected BKI terrorists were arrested following a tip-off in November 2010 in Fatehgarh Sahib district, 70 km from Chandigarh.
BKI chief Wadhawa Singh is believed by the intelligence agencies to be based in Pakistan. BKI India chief Jagtar Singh Hawara is lodged in the high-security Burail prison in Chandigarh.
Hawara, who was earlier sentenced to the gallows for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in August 1995, is now undergoing life term in the case after the Punjab and Haryana High Court commuted his death sentence.
Delhi Police had blamed the BKI for the blasts at the Satyam and Liberty cinema halls in the national capital in May 2005.
Hawara, who had made a sensational jailbreak from the Burail prison in January 2004 by digging a 108-foot-long tunnel along with three others, and seven others were arrested in the twin blasts at Satyam and the Liberty cinema halls May 22, 2005.
BKI played a prominent role in the Punjab insurgency. It was created in 1978, after a number of Sikhs were killed in clashes with the Nirankari sect. It was active throughout 1980s in the Punjab insurgency but its influence declined in the 1990s after several of its senior members were killed by the police.