Amritsar grenade attack: Punjab Police arrests suspect; assailant claims ISI handler Happy Singh 'mastermind'

The Punjab Police on Wednesday arrested one of the two men suspected of carrying out the Amritsar grenade attack. Quoting sources, CNN-News18 said the suspect claimed Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) handler Happy Singh 'PhD' alias Harmeet Singh was the mastermind behind the incident. India Today reported that the arrested man, a local, and the other assailant were paid to conduct the attack.

Addressing a press conference, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, "I'm happy to announce that the police has arrested one of the two attackers, 26-year-old Bikramjit Singh, in the Amritsar grenade attack. The other man, Avtar Singh, will be nabbed soon."

Speaking on the ISI link, Amarinder said, "For a long time, the Pakistan ISI has been very active. This is something for which we will have to be on our toes. We will not allow these things to happen. Our force is being one step ahead of them and we've been able to neutralise them. A total of 17 terror modules have been busted so far and 81 people have been arrested."

He said that the ISI is using Khalistani Liberation Force to disturb the peace in state. "Pakistan's objective is to disturb peace, be it in Kashmir or Punjab. A disturbed border is Pakistan's security," he said.

The chief minister refused to name any particular person as the mastermind and said, "ISI is the mastermind. These people (Happy Singh 'PhD') are simply the touts they are using."

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during his visit to the site of grenade blast at Nirankari Bhavan, on Monday. PTI

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during his visit to the site of grenade blast at Nirankari Bhavan, on Monday. PTI

He said that the grenade (HE-84) used in the attack is a "POF-made" (Pakistani Army ordinance factory) which is filled with pellets. "This is the type of grenade which has been taken from other modules. This is the one being used against forces in Kashmir and this is the one that burst. All those injured have got small pellet wounds," he said.

Three people—including a preacher—were killed and over 20 were injured when two-motorcycle borne men threw a grenade on a religious congregation inside Nirankari Bhawan's prayer hall near Amritsar's Rajasansi on Sunday.

Amarinder, who visited the attack site with senior ministers on Monday, had then called the attack a "clear case of terrorism".

He then said investigators were pursuing certain "leads" aggressively and assured that culprits would soon be arrested. He also announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for anyone providing information on those involved in the blast.

Prima facie, this appears to be an "act of terror" by separatist forces, organised with the involvement of ISI-backed Khalistani or Kashmiri terrorist groups, the chief minister had said.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2018 16:53:14 IST

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