Amritsar: Three killed in grenade attack at Nirankari Bhawan, police suspect terror angle

The grenade was lobbed by bike-borne persons at a religious congregation of ‘Nirankaris’ which was being held at Adhiwala village in Amritsar, according to eyewitness accounts.

At least three people were killed and eight others injured in a grenade blast at a religious congregation in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village on Sunday, police said. The blast took place at Nirankari Satsang Bhawan at Adliwal village near Amritsar’s Rajasansi, close to the international airport, they added.

Amritsar police commissioner, S Srivastva said, “It is suspected to be a terrorist attack. We have been probing. No arrest has been made so far. Two unidentified men attacked the congregation.”

Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora said, “It (this incident) appears to have 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.”

The DGP also said there was no specific input about any possible attack on Nirankari Bhavan. “There was no issue with this group as such… There was no specific input on (Nirankari Bhavan),” he said.

According to multiple eyewitnesses, two masked men riding a motorcycle threw something at the crowd that caused the blast. Identities of the deceased are yet to be ascertained. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, a forensic team had reached the spot to investigate the blast while the police have cordoned off the entire area.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reviewed the law and order situation and directed Home Secretary, DGP, DG Law & Order, and DG Intelligence to rush to Rajasansi to supervise the probe. Security has been beefed up at Nirankari Bhawans across the state on the CM’s directions. The chief minister also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the deceased and free treatment for the injured.

“I appeal to the people of Punjab to maintain peace in wake of Amritsar bomb blast. I urge them not to panic and to remain calm. We will not let the forces of terror destroy our hard earned peace,” he tweeted.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to the CM and assured of stern action against the culprits. “Spoke to the Chief Minister of Punjab, @capt_amarinder jiwho has apprised me of the situation in the wake of grenade attack in Amritsar. Strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of this crime,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.

“Deeply anguished by the death of innocent people in a grenade attack at Amritsar in Punjab today. It is a reprehensible act of violence. My condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this attack and prayers for speedy recovery of the injured,” he added.

Punjab was on alert following an input claiming that “a group of six to seven JeM terrorists” were reportedly in the state, possibly in Ferozepur area. The state was also put on alert after four persons snatched an SUV from its driver at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district last week.

Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar expressed his condolences.

“My condolences are with families of those who lost lives in this incident. It is an attempt to disturb peace in Punjab. I believe all the security agencies should stay alert and coordinate with each other to maintain peace,” he told ANI.

Source: The Indian Express

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