The Punjab police on Sunday busted a terror module of the revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), which was conspiring to unleash a series of terrorist strikes in Punjab and adjoining states. Four persons were arrested and a huge cache of arms, consisting of five AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand grenades, was seized by the police.
Those arrested have been identified as Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh.
The module was backed by the Pakistan-based chief of the KZF, Ranjeet Singh, alias Neeta, and his Germany-based associate, Gurmeet Singh, alias Bagga.
Initial investigations revealed the use of drones to deliver weapons and communication hardware from across the border.
Given the international links and the ramifications of the conspiracy, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to hand over further investigations in the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to ensure that the entire conspiracy is fully and expeditiously unraveled.
The Chief Minister has also urged the Central government to direct the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Border Security Force (BSF) to launch necessary counter-measures to check any further hostile drone activity in the border state of Punjab.
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said that the weapons were suspected to have been delivered recently from across the Indo-Pakistan border using drones launched by the Pakistani establishment, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence ISI, and state-sponsored Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits working under its command.
Gupta said the large-scale infiltration appeared to have been aimed at scaling up terrorism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the Indian hinterland, in the wake of the recent developments in the Kashmir Valley.
"In an operation carried out by Ketan Baliram Patil, Additional Inspector-General, Counter Intelligence, Amritsar, along with various Punjab police teams based in Chandigarh, four module members were arrested and a large number of arms, ammunition, explosives and communication devices seized. The terrorists were arrested from the outskirts of the Chola Sahib village in Tarn Taran district," he said.
It has been revealed that the terror group was reorganised with the help of local sleeper cells. "They had spotted, radicalised and recruited local members, besides arranging funds and sophisticated weapons from across the border for operationalising the local module members," Gupta said.
Altogether five AK-47 rifles, along with 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese made. 30 bore pistols, along with high magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition, nine hand grenades, five Thuraya satellite phones and Rs 10 lakh fake Indian currency notes have been recovered from them.
(With agency inputs.)