Wanted for dera follower’s murder, suspected Khalistani nabbed in UP
Additional superintendent of police (ASP) of the ATS, Rajesh Sahani said Kala was “one of the most active” among Sikh hardliners who support a separate nation of Khalistan.Updated: Aug 18, 2017 12:27 IST
Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Chandigarh
Police from Punjab and the Uttar Pradesh anti-terror squad (ATS) arrested another alleged terrorist of Babbar Khalsa International, Jaswant Singh, alias Kala, from a farmhouse in Sora Mau in Unnao district, 50 km from UP capital Lucknow, on Thursday morning.
In Chandigarh, a Punjab police spokesperson said Kala had masterminded the targeted killings of Paras Mani, a religious leader and head of Dera Baba Farid, at Khukhrana village of Moga in 2014; and of Gurdev Singh, a Dera Sacha Sauda follower, in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot last year.He is also a prime accused in murder of Baba Lakha Singh, a controversial religious preacher, in Hanumangarh of Rajasthan, in November last year.
He was arrested on revelations made by his alleged accomplice Balwant Singh, who was staying with a false identity of a granthi at a Lucknow gurdwara for the past five years and was arrested on Wednesday evening, the UP ATS said. He was hiding in the farmhouse for the past few weeks after allegedly killing a supporter of an anti-BKI group in Punjab around two months ago, it is alleged.
Additional superintendent of police (ASP) of the ATS, Rajesh Sahani said Kala was “one of the most active” among Sikh hardliners who support a separate nation of Khalistan. Police in Punjab said Kala, who hails from Sonewala village of Muktsar district, is a “close associate” of Jagtar Singh Hawara, former BKI chief in India, who is in jail for the assassination of the then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.
ASP Sahani also said Kala was involved in three killings, in Hanumangarh (Rajasthan), and Faridkot and Nawanshahr (Punjab) in 2016 and this year. He was earlier arrested on sedition charges from Delhi’s Modi Colony in 2008 and on similar charges in 2005. Punjab police said Kala was arrested by the special cell of Delhi police in March 2008 for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to kill controversial preacher Piara Singh Bhaniara.
The UP ATS officer said the Punjab police were tracking the duo for the past several years and expedited the search after Kala’s name surfaced in three back-to-back killings. On Wednesday finally, Balwant was arrested on a tip- off from the Punjab police, and thus came the subsequent arrest of Kala, whose hideout was arranged by Balwant, he said. Both were produced in a Lucknow court for transit remand and handed over to the Punjab police.
The spokesperson said Kala had “stitched together a terrorist module comprising of Gurpreet Singh Gopi, Avtar Singh Pamma and Ashok Kumar Vohra, alias Amna Seth, all from Ferozepur, who are under arrest.
It is further alleged that Balwant, “who kept moving between his deras in Tanda in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) and another one in Lucknow”, supplied weapons to Kala, “who further provided the same to his associates to carry out the targeted killings and attacks on socio-religious leaders”.
First Published: Aug 18, 2017 12:26 IST