Jalandhar: Bhindranwale’s grandnephew among two arrested as police bust terror module

Punjab Police on Friday arrested two militant operatives and claimed to have busted a terror module. One of the arrested militants, police said, was the son of the nephew of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale — the Sikh religious leader and political revolutionary whose violent campaign for autonomy for the state of Punjab and armed occupation of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar led to a deadly confrontation with the Indian military in 1984.

Police said a huge cache of live grenades, a tiffin bomb and some pistols and ammunition has been seized from the arrested suspects.

Investigators identified the arrested men as Gurmukh Singh Brar alias GB, a resident of Hardyal Nagar, Garha, Jalandhar, who is the son of Jasbir Singh Rode, the nephew of Jarnail Bhindranwale, and Gagandeep Singh, a resident of Gurunanak Pura in Phagwara.

Later in the day, the police also conducted a raid at the office of Punjabi Daily ‘Aaj Di Awaaz’ where Gurmukh was working as the editor.

A press release by Punjab Police later said that Kapurthala police had nabbed Gagandeep, a resident of Phagwara, and recovered one illegal pistol from his possession. During follow-up interrogations, Gagandeep had revealed that the pistol recovered from him was part of a bigger consignment of weapons that had been sent from across the border via drones over the last few months. He also disclosed that the major part of the consignment had been hidden by his close friend, who he identified as one Gurmukh Singh, in Jalandhar.

“Acting on this input, police teams immediately raided the house of Gurmukh Singh and arrested him, while also recovering two live hand grenades, one box of detonators, two tubes suspected to contain RDX, one roll of high explosive yellow wire, cash of Rs 3.75 lakh, one licensed pistol a .45 bore, 14 Indian passports, one .30 pistol along with two magazines from his possession,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kapurthala, HPS Khak, adding that one live tiffin bomb and other explosive material was also said to have been hidden in the office of Gurmukh Singh near Jalandhar bus stand.

The teams next raided the Jalandhar bus stand office of Gurmukh and recovered 3 live hand grenades, 1 tiffin bomb, 4 Glock pistol magazines, and packaging foam material from there.

Preliminary investigations carried out so far have revealed that the consignment was sent by Pakistan’s ISI and by other Pakistan-based pro-Khalistan terrorist groups, such as the ISYF, to carry out multiple terror attacks in Punjab in its ongoing efforts to revive militancy, and disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.

Kapurthala police have registered a case on Friday against Gurmukh and Gagandeep under sections 13,16,17,18,18B,20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, 4,5 of Explosives Substances (Amendment) Act, 2001, and 25,54, 59 of Arms Act. at PS Sadar, Phagwara.

On August 8, Amritsar (Rural) police also recovered a similar-looking sophisticated tiffin bomb from village Daleke, PS Lopoke. The RDX was installed in this tiffin bomb and had three different trigger mechanisms — switch, magnets, and spring — for operational flexibility.

Contacted, Jasbir Singh Rode said that around 12:15 am on Friday, nearly 10-12 policemen entered their premises after scaling the boundary wall. “They knocked on the door and when I asked for a reason, they said that they wanted to search their place. Then I opened the door and they searched our house, went upstairs and came down. They sat for some time and then told me that they were taking Gurmukh along with them. They took him and later again returned with Gurmukh after an hour and told me that they will search the house again. I told them that I could not go upstairs because of my health and wouldn’t be able to help. They went upstairs and returned with 2-3 polybags and told me that they had recovered it from Gurmukh’s room,” Rode said.

“I am not aware whether they had brought this material along with them or whether they were Punjab Police, or National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials,” claimed Rode.

They then raided the office of the “Ajj Di Awaaz’ at around 4;15 am, said Rode.

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