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

Governance       Grenade attack on Nirankaris seen as ominous amid Punjab’s rising religious fervour
       
       	        Chitleen K Sethi         18 November 2018

Governance Grenade attack on Nirankaris seen as ominous amid Punjab’s rising religious fervour Chitleen K Sethi 18 November 2018

To a question, the DGP said there was no specific input about any possible attack on Nirankari Bhavan.

The attack comes three days after the state police was put on high alert following an input by its counter-intelligence wing, suggesting that some Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were in Punjab and planning to move to Delhi. "Three people have died while ten other are injured".

A witness said the attackers were wearing white clothes and had covered themselves in shawls. "As per initial reports, 2 people had come over here who knocked a grenade here", Singh, who visited the incident spot, told reporters.

The incident took place inside the Nirankari Bhavan at Adliwal village near Amritsar's Rajasansi, police said.

"After they gained entry, they threw a grenade-like object at the congregation and escaped", said an eyewitness. "Till proven otherwise, prima facie we will take it as that", Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora told news agency PTI.

The Sant Nirankari Mission is a spiritual organisation and the Bhavan here is located close to the global airport and Indo-Pak border.

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"The possibility of involvement of ISI-backed Khalistani or Kashmiri terror groups could not be ruled out (in the Amritsar terror attack)", said Amarinder Singh in an official statement, adding the forensic teams have been rushed to the spot and "all angles were being investigated".

The attack took place inside the Nirankari Bhavan at Adliwal village near Amritsar's Rajasansi, close to the worldwide airport, police said.

Following this incident, the security has been stepped up at other Nirankari Bhavans across the state.

The chief minister has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the victims. "Have asked district administration to extend all help", Mr. Singh tweeted. Reacting to the development, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted, "Strongly condemn the bomb blast at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar". While the Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh vowed that he will not let the "forces of terror" destroy the hard-earned peace in the state, the Opposition spearheaded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) cornered him for "playing with fire". Punjab police suspects Pakistan's JeM as also radical Sikh groups.

"Deeply anguished by the death of innocent people in a grenade attack at Amritsar in Punjab today".

Congress MLA Raj Kumar Verka, who visited the blast scene, said it was a security and intelligence lapse and blamed both Central and state governments for the incident.

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