Punjab police put on high alert after train blasts

Strict vigil is being maintained in Punjab to check nefarious designs of terrorist groups, reports Manish Tiwari.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 00:13 IST

The Punjab police as well as security agencies have been put on high alert after massive explosions in two coaches of Delhi-Attari special train around midnight at Diwana near Panipat (Haryana) in which at least 66 persons were killed and 13 injured.

Punjab IG (Intelligence) RP Singh said strict vigil was being maintained in Punjab to check nefarious designs of terrorist groups. “The undercurrents of the terrorist movement are still there. The state even today faces challenges from residual terrorist groups of Punjab, loose networks besides jehadi groups that remain relentless in their efforts to promote terrorism,” he said.

In the past 10 years, seven incidents of explosions in trains were reported in the state, besides some incidents of sabotage on railway tracks. Terrorist groups such as Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF-Rode) elements were found to be involved in these incidents, intelligence officials said.

Amongst the terrorist groups operating in Punjab which have the potential to strike are KCF-Panjwar (headed by Paramjit Singh Panjwar), Babbar Khalsa International (headed by Wadhawa Singh), KZF led by Ranjeet Singh Neeta (originally from Jammu and Kashmir) and Dal Khalsa.

As per intelligence reports, Pak-sponsored terrorism in Punjab for over a decade (1978-1992) took heavy toll on lives and properties. “Over 22,000 people including about 9,000 terrorists were killed during various phases of violence associated with Punjab terrorism,” the officials added.

After 1996 onwards (post-terrorism era), over three dozen incidents of terrorism were reported in Punjab. Punjab terrorists also struck in Delhi, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, in addition to these incidents in Punjab.

During this period, the terrorist strikes in Punjab took lives of about 100 people and caused injuries to about 250 others, the officials said.

It may be mentioned that in December 2006, a major conspiracy to disturb the peace and political process in Punjab was foiled after the arrest of Paramjit Singh Dhadi, a UK national belonging to ISYF-Rode and his associates with heavy consignments of explosives and deadly gadgets. This conspiracy was hatched by ISYF-Lakhbir Singh Rode group.

“Heavy recoveries of weapons and explosives in the past 10 years and the arrest of a large number of Pak-trained terrorists clearly show that Pakistan’s ISI continues to aid and abet Punjab militancy through changing methodologies, mechanism and motivations,” the IG (Intelligence) said.

First Published: Feb 19, 2007 17:09 IST