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Pakistan trying to revive terrorism in Punjab, says Rajnath Singh

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday warned of an alliance between extremist Sikh groups, Pakistan-based Islamist outfits and Kashmir-focused terror groups, which Islamabad is seeking to forge to hurt India.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2018 00:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kevadia (Gujarat)
Pakistan,terrorism,Punjab
Rajnath Singh referred to the recent terror attacks in Punjab and said they indicate “concerted efforts” on part of Pakistan and Sikh extremist elements based there to revive terrorism in the state.(PTI)

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday warned of an alliance between extremist Sikh groups, Pakistan-based Islamist outfits and Kashmir-focused terror groups, which Islamabad is seeking to forge to hurt India.

He referred to the recent terror attacks in Punjab and said they indicate “concerted efforts” on part of Pakistan and Sikh extremist elements based there to revive terrorism in the state. He said it was being done “with active support from Sikh radical and extremist entities based abroad, especially in Europe and America”.

“The Pakistani establishment is seeking to forge an understanding between Sikh extremist groups and Pakistan-based Islamist outfits as well as Kashmir-centric terrorist groups for targeting Indian interests,” said Singh.

He was speaking on the opening day of the annual conference of top state police officers in Gujarat’s Kevadia, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the tallest statue dedicated to the country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in October.

Singh asked security agencies to check efforts to revive terrorism in Punjab, where three people were killed and over 20 injured in a grenade on a religious congregation in Amritsar last month. He hit out at Kashmiri separatists, saying they exploit every situation to fan anti-India sentiments and violence. He called financing from Pakistan for militants and separatists “a cause of concern”.

Singh blamed Pakistan for perpetrating terrorist attacks in Punjab and Kashmir, where over 400 people have been killed this year. The toll is the highest there since 2008 when 505 people were killed.

Singh said the security situation in Kashmir continues to be vitiated even though stone-throwing protests have declined. “Attempts by militants to infiltrate in large numbers, intermittent attacks and efforts to recruit locals continue. The terror infrastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir remains in the form of training camps, launching pads and communication control stations.”

Singh said terrorism has been stamped out elsewhere. He added the law enforcement agencies have managed to thwart the Islamic State (IS)’s “the first tide of propaganda and mobilisation” through Intelligence Bureau’s concerted coordinated action. “Consequently, India witnessed very few incidents of IS-inspired violence. In concerted counter-terrorism operations, law enforcement agencies have arrested nearly 125 suspected terrorists this year as against 117 arrested in 2017,” he said.

Singh said the new phase of IS propaganda emanating from Afghanistan-Pakistan region was being countered effectively. He added economic installations and iconic institutions were being continuously targeted from Pakistan through espionage and cyberspace.

“Pakistan continues to abet terrorism and during the period from January 1, 2017, to November 29, 2018, as many as 17 [Pakistan]’s ISI [Inter-services intelligence]-backed espionage modules have been neutralised… resulting in the arrests of 25 espionage agents which include two Pakistanis.”

He said organisations like the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, and Airports Authority of India have been targeted from across the border through spoofed/crank calls to elicit sensitive information.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Dec 20, 2018 22:35 IST