The seizure of the car laden with explosives at Ambala last evening has had Intelligence agencies and the police department on its toes. While it has been by and large ascertained that the car was headed towards New Delhi in order to carry out a major explosion at Diwali time another intercept that has been slowly trickling in is that the operation may have been a joint venture of the Babbar Khalsa International and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
So the big question is whether this is a plan that has been foiled or is it a pre cursor of something more to come. There has been some very specific intelligence intercepts about the coming together of both these outfits. In fact a large number of militants of the BKI have been under the roofs of Pakistani militants for over a decade now. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the BKI has been seeking the help of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the ISI to regroup its modules so that it could carry out attacks on Indian soil.
After the major crack down on the BKI and the rest of the groups in Punjab most of the leaders fled to Pakistan. They have been training and also setting up their outfit under the care of the ISI. The ISI in fact has intentionally decided to very sparingly use these persons from Punjab. The interest of these militants has always been Punjab alone and once ready they would look to wage a war in that state all over again. However the ISI would use their cadres to strike at the epicentres such as the capital-New Delhi.
Going back to the Ambala operation the preliminary investigations would suggest that the explosives were held out for the BKI by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants in the Valley. The same was confirmed by Arun Kampani, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell.
However according to reports of the Intelligence Bureau both the Lashkar and the BKI would work in tandem in India. This operation gives the indication of the same. A couple of months ago there were related incidents in Punjab as well where explosives stocked by the Lashkar militants in the Valley were handed over to the BKI who were planning on using the same.
It would be interesting to go back to the interrogation of two BKI cadres Daljith Singh and Purushotham Singh who were arrested at Mohali a year ago. Their interrogation report makes it clear what plan their outfit had in store for India. During their interrogation they do give out details about how the two outfits have been working in tandem with each other. In fact they have even said the revival of militancy in Punjab is very much part of the much hyped up Karachi Project. The Karachi project basically is the coming together of various outfits affiliated with India who would in turn carry out a series of attacks across the country.
The interrogation of the two men had also suggested that their leader Paramjith Singh is currently in Pakistan and he is the one who has been controlling operations.
Until last year the BKI and its affiliates had not focused much on terror operations per se. They were more interested in setting up their modules and also pumping in infiltrators to strengthen their base. Although the epi centre of this problem lies in Pakistan, the BKI has made constant efforts to regroup in India and be less reliant on the Pakistan soil. Although the ISI claimed that the ideologies of both the Lashkar and the BKI matched a great deal the latter always used the Pakistan soil as a matter of convenience. They do realise that they need the help of a very strong force in order to re start operations in India. At the moment the training activities for these militants is all taking place in the Pakistani areas of Lakhpat, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Mianwali, Kot ,Peshawar, Attock, Shahidan Da Banga and Gulbarg.
The BKI has had many a failed attempt in the past two years. There was a plot at Mohali that was foiled, several infiltration attempts were scuttled, the attack on the CWG too was a damp squib and today’s incident as per the on going investigations is also a failed attempt. However they can claim success in only one incident which occurred four years back at a theatre in Ludhiana. That was probably the first sign of the return of this militancy and it had become clear during the probe that it was carried out with the blessings of Pakistan based militants.
Intelligence agencies however warn that the alert is high around the Valley, Punjab and the areas around New Delhi. The BKI has been making various attempts and we would not completely rule out a slight possibility of a BKI trace in the recent Delhi High Court blast. The seizure has to be looked at in two ways. It could either be intentional as an attention diverter or it could be a genuine case which has been foiled, the IB points out. However what the police state is that going by the manner in which the BKI has operated, it is very evident that they would not go in for a small operation and their operations have always been on a very large scale.
Although India is aware of this problem the real issue lies with Pakistan as it has under their umbrella the likes of-
Wadhawan Singh Babbar: Chief of BKI, Ranjith Singh Neeta: Chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force, Paramjeet Singh Panjawar: Chief of Khalistan Commando force,. Lakhbhir Singh Rode: Chief of ISYF and Gajinder Singh: The leader of Dal Khalsa. All these men have their permanent addresses at Lahore since the past one decade.