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Third blast in Amritsar triggers heavy police deployment at Golden Temple, five arrested

A third low intensity blast rocked Amritsar's Heritage Street

Yet another low intensity blast near Golden Temple has rocked the Holy city of Amritsar. The explosion took place in the Heritage corridor near Guru Ram Das Sarai area.

Police teams headed by the Amritsar Commissioner had reached the spot and the forensic teams were also summoned. The blast reportedly took place at around 1:00 am. The area was cordoned off.  DGP Punjab Gaurav Yadav tweeted hours later saying the blast cases have been solved and five have been arrested. The details are expected to follow soon.

Among the suspects arrested included a newly wedded couple from the Guru Ram Das Sarai.  One of the suspects had thrown the explosives from the bathroom of the Sarai towards the Galliara.

They were staying in room number 225 of the Sarai. The police recovered two bags from them. Some torn papers were also recovered.  None of the five arrested persons are part of any known terrorist group, said police sources.

Meanwhile, SGPC claimed it was its employees who traced the accused. SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said: ” We strongly condemned the low intensity explosion in Galiara behind Guru Ramdas Ji Niwas in Amritsar. I appreciate the efforts of SGPC employees to trace accused persons using technology within a few hours of occurrence of crime. The third incident of explosion in proximity to Sri Darbar Sahib within the span of a week shows that the Government took these incidents lightly and failed to trace accused persons.”

This is the third blast near Darbar Sahib in the past four days. Earlier, two explosions had occurred at Heritage Street at the same spot near Saragarhi multi-storey parking, first on Saturday night and then on Monday morning.

Besides the Forensic Science laboratory Mohali, teams from NIA and NSG had also scanned the area.

DGP Punjab police had visited the spot and pointed out that a crude device was used for explosions. The third detonation has raised serious concern and posed a law-and-order challenge.

The three explosions which have come just a month before operation Blue Star anniversary and after the arrest of pro-Khalistani activist Amritpal Singh has left residents, devotees and tourists panicked. The city is already on high alert and BSF and RAF deployed near the Golden Temple. The security has been beefed up and the city has been put under strict vigil while law enforcement agencies continue to investigate the blasts. Initial investigation revealed that these were low intensity blasts using IED without detonators.

“These agencies specialise in blast investigations and we wish to be thorough with everything. The situation is peaceful and under control,” said DGP Gaurav Yadav. A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited and inspected the site of the second blast on Monday and a special team of NSG too reached on Tuesday. Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav has himself been leading the investigations. Though investigators are tight-lipped, sources revealed that the explosives used in the two blasts on Heritage Street in Amritsar were packed in two 250 ml cans of a health drink called “Hell”.

Interestingly this energy drink hit headlines when in a March photo of Amritpal drinking the same went viral, forcing him to clarify was not beer but an energy drink. The cans exploded when they fell or were thrown from a height. According to police investigations in the first incident, the can containing explosives, seemed to have been placed on a building with a string attached to it that had been thrown over the wall. It was when somebody intentionally or unintentionally pulled the strings the can fell down causing the blast. In the second incident, the blast seems to have taken place when the can was thrown from a height. The explosions so far seem to have been aimed at making some statement, though nobody has claimed responsibility for it. The police said the intent of the blast, most likely, was to make a statement.

The first blast happened on the night of May 6 on Heritage Street, near the Golden Temple. Six persons were injured and the glass facades of some buildings in the area were damaged in the blast. The second low-intensity blast on the same street on the morning of May 8 injured one more person. The third explosion comes at night of the conclusion of a much-celebrated special vigil operation launched by Punjab police.

Also Read: IEDs used in two low-intensity blasts at Heritage Street near Golden Temple in Amritsar on consecutive days