New Delhi, July 02: Searches were conducted by the National Investigation Agency at nine locations in Barnala, Moga, Ferozepur in Punjab and Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in UP related to threatening and extortion of money by Khalistan terrorists.
The case was first registered at Mehna district Moga, Punjab after the police received information that Arshdeep Singh, Charandeep Singh, Beehla Barnala and Ramandeep Singh had formed a gang to extort money from people. The NIA had taken over the probe from the Punjab police in 2021.
News has just trickled in that it was the Khalistan Tiger Force which is behind the Ambala haul of explosives meant for a deadly Diwali blast at Delhi. The confession comes from the outfit itself which has made it clear that the intention of the blast was to eliminate Sajjan Kumar who is the prime accused in the Sikh riots case.
The Khalistan Tiger Force is a breakaway faction of the Babbar Khalsa International and it was in the month of March that this outfit was floated. The latest confession is however a clear indication that the outfit is trying to rake up the sentiments of the sikh community since the target is none other than Sajjan Kumar a man hated in most parts of Punjab. When the police managed to seize this haul their investigations clearly indicated that this was the doing of a Sikh militant group. However the eye of the suspicion was very much on the Babbar Khalsa International since the style and operation looked like a very BKI one.
Today the story is different and a breakaway faction called the KTF has claimed responsibility for the incident. Intelligence Bureau officials point out that a couple of months back there was a communication speaking about the KTF breaking away from the BKI. The man who had intended doing so was the prime accused in the Beant Singh killing, Jagtar Singh Tara. The outfit was officially launched on March 13 which is a day before the Sikh new year.The outfit says that it has its office at Sri Akal Takht Sahib and the decision to breakaway was because they wanted to do more for their community.
The bigger question is whether there is a real rift within the BKI? The answer is a no according to intelligence bureau reports. It is a deliberate ploy and this has taken place intentionally due to the bad publicity that the BKI has got thanks to its ISI association. No matter however honest a cause is, an association with the ISI is something that no Indian would accept and the BKI did realise that it had taken a back seat during its re-launch in India. During the recruitment process in Punjab it found no takers thanks to the Pakistan association. The association was being seen more as an anti Indian than pro Sikh. This prompted them to wake up to the issue and ensure that the outfit should deal exclusively with the main issue and that is Sikh rights. However that was not going to be possible with the existing name and hence the idea to float a brand new outfit was mooted which eventually took place in the month of March.
Today’s communication also makes another point and that is the outfit has nothing to do with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. This again is an attempt being made to keep the group exclusively to the Indian domain which they feel may dish out the necessary support that they have been looking for. The IB says that this could well announce the launch of this outfit. Groups such as the SIMI or the Indian Mujahideen too made their foray into the world of terror by making similar announcements. Touching upon emotive issues has always worked well for these groups and this has managed to rope in the youth who feel strongly for the cause. These groups have been trying to make a come back since the past two years. They have not found much success in the same. The recruitments have not been up to the mark and worse when it came to logistics they did not find enough local support which made their launch a virtually impossible task. By saying that they have no Pakistan link and also touching upon the very sensitive Sikh riots issue it would be interesting to note how they would take their next part of the plan ahead.
It is quite a sensitive situation and the local government in particular has to be on high alert in order to ensure that the group does not plant its roots yet again. However investigators say that they would continue to look at the case as a whole and this new declaration will surely be taken into consideration, but the BKI angle will also be probed since we know that both are one and the same at the end of it.