M A I N   N E W S

Punjab police fails to get Hawara’s custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Efforts of the Punjab police to take Jagtar Singh Hawara in its custody failed today as a court in Delhi extended his remand for ongoing cases in Delhi. Armed with a production warrants a team of the Punjab Police had gone to Delhi to seek his custody but returned empty handed this evening.

Jagtar Singh Hawara, main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, is wanted for his trial in the courts of Ropar and Kharar in different cases. Hawara, presently in the custody of the Delhi police for his trial in the case of twin blasts in Delhi cinema halls, was expected to be produced in the Ropar or Kharar today by the Punjab Police.

The Ropar police had registered a case against Hawara on June 15 for exploding a bomb at the ‘dera’ of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarewala on January 10.

The police had sent a cavalcade of cars, including bullet proof vehicles and one fitted with jammers to get Hawara.

The precaution had been taken lest someone tried to blow up the accompanying police in an effort to rescue Hawara, sources said. Besides these vehicles, two vehicles of jail with grills had also been sent.



Babbars were planning to strike
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
“Tomorrow is wedding. Marriage party must reach in time”, was the coded message which was to be sent to at least nine units in different parts of Punjab to order bombing at predecided targets simultaneously. Among the targets were Baba Bhaniarawala and Ashutosh besides others.

This message was to be transmitted either through short message service (SMS) or through cellular phone by Jagtar Singh Hawara of Babbar Khalsa International to unit commanders in Nawanshahr, Ropar, Khanna, Sangrur, Bathinda, Patiala and Hoshiarpur.

“We have been able to catch them before they could strike,” says Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, maintaining that Jagtar Singh Hawara had been lucky to escape police dragnet a couple of times during the past few months.

The last time he managed to escape, say sources in the police, was in February soon after Prabir Singh of Amritsar had been kidnapped. During special checking at nakas, police had the information that Jagtar Singh Hawara may be crossing Neelon Bridge, near Doraha, in a car. He, however, abandoned his car near the bridge and escaped on a motor cycle. The car was later taken in custody as abandoned.

Of all the erstwhile militant organisations, says Mr Virk, Babbar Khalsa remained active. Reasons for alluring “needy youth into militancy fold,” says Mr Virk, could be many, including personal needs, friendship and allurement of settling overseas.

Both Ashwani Dadwal and Jaspal Raja were once in Cyprus from where they reportedly came in contact with Babbars. Jaspal was first to go to Pakistan for training in 2003. Ashwani Dadwal followed him in July, 2003. The latest group to train in Pakistan, says Mr Virk, is from Muktsar which returned only in May this year.

It was call for friendship which brought Ashwani Dadwal and Jaspal Raja into the Babbar’s fold.

Of the changed strategy of militants, policemen believe, is from gun to grenades and bombs. It is why not even a single AK-47 or Ak-74 has been recovered.

Police sources maintain that some splinter groups were still behind training militants as there are reports that special capsule courses in religious training too were held in Pakistan.

In all, the Punjab police has so far questioned as many as 400 persons in connection with its recent operation to nab Babbars. Only those involved are being arrested and others, who are innocent, are being released.

“Some who either were forced to harbour or were aware of the identity of these Babbars deserve sympathy and support,” says Mr Virk maintaining “husband of Mrs Hardeep Kaur has been a victim and not an accomplice of Babbars.”

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