Khalistan terrorist held in Amritsar

Amritsar, May 30 (IANS) A terrorist of the banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Bakshish Singh alias Baba, wanted to stand trial in over 25 criminal cases, has been arrested and 2.3 kg RDX seized from him in this Punjab city, police said Sunday.

‘Baba was working to revive the defunct KLF in Punjab and was working at the behest of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI (Inter Services Intelligence),’ said Amritsar Police Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma here.

‘He was planning major strikes in Punjab and Haryana in the coming months. We will try to unearth his links and plans during the interrogation,’ said the official.

Baba, who is a native of Nizamniwala village in Patiala district and was involved in several terrorist activities in the region, was arrested Saturday by a team of the special operation cell of the intelligence wing of Punjab police, the official said.

‘This arrest is a big achievement for us,’ Sharma said.

‘We have recovered 2.3 kg RDX, one detonator, a 30 bore pistol and 28 cartridges from him,’ he said.

During the interrogation, Baba admitted that he was involved in planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) outside a liquefied petroleum gas bottling plant in Nabha town in Patiala district and an explosive device in a Maruti car near the Indian Air Force’s Halwara air base in January this year, he said.

‘Baba was involved in more than 25 cases, including a bomb attack on the convoy of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim at Karnal, in Haryana, in February 2008. After that he escaped to Malaysia with the help of another wanted terrorist, Harminder Singh alias Mintu of Goa, and had later reached Pakistan,’ he said.

The Sacha Sauda sect chief had escaped unhurt but nine people were injured in the attack.

Haryana police had arrested some people for that blast and announced a reward of Rs.100,000 for Baba’s arrest.

Police sources said that Haryana police have also sent a team to Amritsar to quiz Baba.

Punjab police had announced a cash reward of Rs.500,000 for anyone providing clues leading to the arrest of Baba. Now, police are raiding various places in the state to nab his other accomplices.

According to police, Baba was involved in various terrorist activities like bomb blasts, murders, kidnappings for ransom, possession of explosives, giving shelter to terrorists and planting IEDs in different states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab.

He was earlier arrested Aug 21, 1999, by Delhi Police. He remained in jail till January 2005.

Baba’s arrest comes a day after an alleged Pakistani spy, Irfan Ulha, was picked up by Punjab police from near an Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Mohali district Saturday.

This year alone, police have arrested at least nine terrorists belonging to various banned groups. Besides, they have twice recovered explosives near IAF stations in Punjab.

Last month, two policemen and two Pakistan-based militants were killed in a fierce gun battle near the India-Pakistan international border in Gurdaspur district.