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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Grenade blast at Nirankari prayer meet in Amritsar leaves 3 dead, Punjab govt vows strong action

Two armed bike-borne youths forced their way into a building where the Nirankari spiritual group was meeting in Adliwal village in Amritsar and threw a hand grenade at the crowd.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 18, 2018 20:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Police personnel and people seen outside the Nirankari Bhawan after two men on a motorcycle reportedly threw a grenade at the Nirankari Bhawan during a religious congregation, at Adliwal village, near Rajasansi, Amritsar, India, on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
Police personnel and people seen outside the Nirankari Bhawan after two men on a motorcycle reportedly threw a grenade at the Nirankari Bhawan during a religious congregation, at Adliwal village, near Rajasansi, Amritsar, India, on Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Sameer Sehgal /Hindustan Times)
         

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Union home minister Rajnath Singh assured strong action after three people were killed and around 15 injured in a grenade blast at a Nirankari prayer meeting in Amritsar’s Adliwal village, which appeared to be a “terrorist act”.

Two armed bike-borne youths wearing turban and having their faces covered forced their way into a building where the Nirankari spiritual group was meeting in the village near Rajasansi area and threw a hand grenade at the crowd.

Three people were killed and around 15-20 injured, police said, adding that the injured have been admitted in Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and Ivy Hospital in Amritsar.

The Punjab Police said the attack appeared to have “a terrorist angle”, and they would take it as terrorist act till proven otherwise.

“Because it is against a group (of people) and it is not against any individual. So we will take it as a terrorist act. Till proven otherwise,” Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora told PTI.

To a question, the DGP said there was no specific input about any possible attack on Nirankari Bhavan.

Punjab was on an alert following an input that a group of six to seven JeM terrorists were reportedly in the state, possibly in Ferozepur area.

People gather at the Nirankari Bhawan, where two men on a motorcycle reportedly threw a grenade during a religious congregation, in Adliwal village near Amritsar, Punjab on Sunday.
People gather at the Nirankari Bhawan, where two men on a motorcycle reportedly threw a grenade during a religious congregation, in Adliwal village near Amritsar, Punjab on Sunday. ( PTI )

Inspector general of police S S Parmar, who visited the incident spot, told reporters that about 200 devotees were inside at the time of the attack. No CCTV camera was installed at the premises.

Condemning the attack, Amarinder Singh said he “will not let forces of terror destroy our hard earned peace”.

“I appeal to the people of Punjab to maintain peace in wake of Amritsar bomb blast. I urge them not to panic and to remain calm,” he said, after directing the Home Secretary, DGP, DG (Law and Order) and DG Intelligence to rush to Amritsar to supervise investigations, an official spokesman said in Chandigarh.

He has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

Rajnath Singh who spoke to the CM, said strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of the grenade attack.

Calling the attack a “reprehensible act of violence”, the minister expressed deep anguish over the death of innocents and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.