Grenade attack on Nirankaris seen as ominous amid Punjab’s rising religious fervour

Leroy Wright
November 19, 2018

Inspector General (Border) of Amritsar Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said there were around 250 devotees at the congregation when the attack took place, and that there were no CCTV cameras at the location. The blast happened when Satsanga was going in Nirankari Bhawan.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reviewed the law and order situation in the state after the grenade attack.

A religious congregation of "Nirankaris" was being held at when it came under attack.

Earlier in the afternoon, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the state home secretary and senior police officials, including Arora, to visit the spot for investigations.

Amrinder Singh has also directed the police to immediately enhance security arrangements at all sensitive places in the wake of the explosion. Because it is against a group (of people) and it is not against any individual.

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According to DGP law and order Hardeep Dhillon, initial inputs say the two youth, with their faces covered, barged into the building and lobbed the grenade at the crowd.

Punjab police also have intelligence input regarding movement of the chief of Jammu and Kashmir-based Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind terror outfit with reported links to JeM - near Amritsar. There is no reason to throw a hand grenade on a group of people, so we will take it as a terrorist act.

Punjab was on alert following an intelligence that a group of six to seven Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists were reportedly in the state, possibly in Ferozepur area. At the time of attack, about 200 were people present in the ashram.

Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat had recently warned that attempts were being made to "revive insurgency" in Punjab and had even cautioned that people needed to be careful especially during the festival season to prevent anti-national forces from succeeding in their nefarious designs. "My condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this attack and prayers for speedy recovery of the injured". Union Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh, too, said he was "deeply anguished by the death of innocent people" in Amritsar, and that "strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of this crime". My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each of the dead and free treatement to injured. "I believe all security agencies should stay alert and coordinate with each other to maintain peace".

The state was put on alert after four persons snatched a SUV from its driver at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district last week. On Friday, Punjab police in Gurdaspur had pasted posters of Musa.

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