3 killed, 20 hurt in Amritsar grenade attack

A religious congregation of the Nirankaris was being conducted inside the Bhavan at the time of the incident. The grenade was lobbed by two persons who had come on a bike and had their faces covered.

PTI
Amritsar, Publish Date: Nov 19 2018 1:38AM | Updated Date: Nov 19 2018 1:38AM
3 killed, 20 hurt in Amritsar grenade attackRepresentational pic

Three persons were killed and 20 injured in a grenade attack on a religious congregation here on city outskirts on Sunday.

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

A religious congregation of the Nirankaris was being conducted inside the Bhavan at the time of the incident. The grenade was lobbed by two persons who had come on a bike and had their faces covered.

The Director General of Police Suresh Arora, who along with senior police officers rushed to the spot, said the incident appears to be a “terrorist act”.      

He said that three people had died in the incident and 20 others were injured, two of them seriously.      

Inspector General of Police S S Parmar, who visited the incident spot, told reporters that about 200 devotees including many women were inside at the time of the incident. No CCTV was installed at the premises, preliminary investigations found, he said.      

Chief minister Amrinder Singh said preliminary investigations had so far revealed that two men, one of them with a flowing beard, with covered faces, allegedly forced their way into the hall by brandishing a pistol. They detained the sewadar, lobbed the grenade into the prayer room, and fled on a motorcycle.

A small crater was formed by the impact of the explosion, and was being examined by the forensic team. The safety valve of the grenade has also been found and was being examined, he said.

Though the state had been hit by a series of cases of targeted attacks since 2015-16, this was the first attempt, in a long time, to disturb the peace in the state through indiscriminate killings, said the Chief Minister, adding it strengthened the belief that Pakistan was continuing with its nefarious activities to disturb the state’s peace.

He pointed out that 15 such modules had been busted in the past 18 months, with Kashmiri links also indicated in some instances, as evidenced in the arrest of Kashmiri students from Jalandhar and in the Maqsudan police station grenade blast case.     

Earlier, the DGP said that the incident appears to be a “terrorist act”.

“It (this incident) appears to be a terror angle. Because it is against a group (of people) and it is not against any individual. There is no reason to throw a hand grenade on a group of people so we will take it as a terrorist act. Till proven otherwise, prima facie we will take it as that,” DGP Arora told PTI.

Notably, the grenade attack took place amid Punjab being on high alert following an input claiming that “a group of six to seven JeM militants were in Punjab and  were ‘planning’  to move to Delhi.”

Moreover, the security agencies were also on alert after four persons snatched an SUV from its driver at gunpoint near Madhopur in Punjab’s Pathankot district a few days back.

On Friday, Punjab police in Gurdaspur had even pasted posters of Zakir Musa, the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind outfit.

According to late night report, the main preacher Sukhdev Kumar was among the three persons killed in the grenade attack. Police said the grenade was hurled towards the stage where Kumar was holding the congregation.

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