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Security agencies gain upper hand over Pakistan-backed terror groups operating in Punjab

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Coordinated efforts of the security agencies have given a severe blow to the operations of Pakistan’s ISI-backed gangsters-turned-terrorists in Punjab with many of them being arrested and some killed in encounters recently.

The NIA, the Delhi’s Special Cell, both of which function under the administrative control of the Union Home Ministry, and the Punjab police have conducted over 80 raids on the hideouts of criminals and terrorists in Punjab, Rajasthan, and Delhi after the murder of singer Sidhu Moosewala in May this year. The homes of Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar and Batala resident Jaggu Bhagwanpuria (now in jail) – allegedly involved in the murder of Moosewala were also searched.

Based on specific intelligence inputs, two gangsters, linked to the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, were killed by the Punjab police in an encounter near Amritsar in July. Four gangsters were arrested in a village near Jalandhar last month after a brief encounter.

The National Investigation Agency’s arrest of most wanted terrorist Kulwinderjit Singh alias Khanpuria from the Delhi airport this week has also come as a big blow to Khalistani terrorist groups.

He had been associated with terrorist outfits including the Babbar Khalsa International and the Khalistan Liberation Force and was arrested soon after his arrival from Bangkok. The NIA had declared a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for information leading to his arrest.

Khanpuria, an Amritsar native, had been absconding since 2019 and was involved and wanted in many terrorist cases, including the conspiracy to carry out targeted killings in Punjab, NIA said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a Bishnoi gang-linked gangster Deepak Bhardwaj was arrested in Chandigarh after a brief encounter in which he got injured. He was instrumental in organising fun parties for some junior Punjab police officers, including Pritpal Singh, now under arrest for facilitating the escape of gangster Tinu from the custody of Mansa police. Tinu was re-arrested from Rajasthan by Delhi police’s special cell.

The arrest of three killers of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pardeep Singh in Kotkapura last week, within 24 hours of the incident, from a village in Patiala by Delhi’s police’s special cell shows the efficient coordination of intelligence agencies and the police.

The arrest of four gangsters in Tarn Taran recently who were acting on the directions of Canada-based Lakhbir Singh Landa turned out to be an achievement of the Punjab police. They had killed a garment shop owner. Their interrogation led to the arrest of a terrorist in Gurdaspur and another in Amritsar. Besides, they disclosed the names of the targets, who were to be gunned down in the coming days. Several Hindu leaders were also on their hit list to disturb communal harmony in the state.

On October 1, the Punjab Police busted a module after arresting three operatives of an ISI-backed terror module and recovered one sophisticated AK-56 assault rifle along with two magazines, 90 live cartridges, and two bullet shells.

Earlier on September 28, an operative of the Canada-based Lakhbir Singh Landa gang was arrested from Bihar for his involvement in several heinous crimes pertaining to murder, attempt to murder, assault, robbery, and snatching.

An ISI-backed Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) terror module being operated by Canada-based terrorist and gangster Arshdeep Singh, alias Arsh Dalla, was busted with the arrest of its two operatives from Chamkaur Sahib in Punjab.

Internecine gang war amongst the gangster-turned-terrorists has also dented their ranks. Happy Sanghera was killed in Italy and Lakhbir Landa called an Indian TV journalist, now settled in Surrey, Canada, to claim that Sanghera had been shot dead.

Sanghera was accused of double-crossing the Bishnoi gang as he allegedly passed information to the Delhi Police’s Special Cell led by HGS Dhaliwal.

The Landa gang thought it is the reason behind Special Cell’s success in busting several terror modules in Punjab, Delhi, and Rajasthan recently. A cache of deadly weapons, including an AK-56 rifle, was recently seized from one Malhi, residing in a Punjab village, an associate of Landa.

There is no confirmation about the manner in which the dead body of Sanghera was disposed of or cremated as per Sikh rites. The relatives of Sanghera living in a Punjab village could not get in touch with him for over 10 days as his phone was not responding.

The death of Babbar Khalsa International terrorists Harvinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda due to an overdose of drugs in a Lahore military hospital also come as a blow to the terrorist outfit. His body was left to rot in hospital and was not handed over for cremation in accordance with Sikh rites.

Inquiries with the media sources connected to Pakistan revealed that the ISI was looking for the right time to cremate the body of Rinda, preferably at night, without allowing a glimpse to the members of rival gangs, who too were operating from Pakistan.

Rinda’s relatives living in a Tarn Taran village are silent about his death. They told the police there was no contact between them and Rinda for at least 4-years after he sneaked into Pakistan.

Indian intelligence agencies feel that the ISI wants to keep Rinda alive in public view so that narco-terror-related activities can be continued under his name. Rinda, himself known to be a drug addict, was involved in sending weapons and drugs to India by using drones supplied by ISI.

Past experience shows that gangsters do not survive beyond 5 to 7 years. This, too, seems to be the case with Rinda.