HIMACHAL PRADESH: Security has been tightened in parts of Himachal and areas bordering Punjab, after a blast rocked a court in Ludhiana, killing two. Patrolling has also been increased in Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh belt as well as Paonta Sahib. All vehicles entering Himachal from Punjab are being checked. Hotels, homestays and other tourist places are also being checked and suspected people are being questioned.
Earlier, it was believed that the suicide bomber killed in the blast was a former police officer, Gagandeep Singh. The ex-cop was dismissed from service and he had to serve two years of imprisonment for his involvement in a drug trafficking case.
This served as an impetus to Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi who claimed that the blast had something to do with the Bikram Singh Majithia case which was being heard at the same time at Mohali. He had also asserted that there was no evidence of involvement of Pakistani agencies or Khalistani groups in the blast.
However, intelligence agencies have maintained that a Khalistani group backed by Pakistan’s ISI might be behind the blast. A senior police officer said that local gangs are being hired to revive the Khalistani movement strongly backed by the ISI.
He also referred to the grenade blast at the Army cantonment area in Pathankot in November, which gave rise to strong suspicions of a Pakistan link.
Earlier this year, the Punjab Police had arrested Gurmukh Singh, a nephew of Jarnail Singh Bindranwale after several explosives were recovered from him. Gurmukh Singh was also being supported by the ISI.
The forensic team and bomb detection squad officials stated that a “fairly good amount of explosives” were used in the Ludhiana blast. Intelligence agencies had apparently received inputs and issued three alerts about the possiblity of Pakistan’s ISI and pro-Khalistan terror outfits carrying out multiple terror attacks in crowded areas and sensitive buildings in Punjab. The last alert was received on Thursday when the court blast occurred. Pakistan backed Babbar Khalsa is also in the list of suspects behind the blast.
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