M A I N   N E W S

Shadow of terror over Punjab polls
PC: Inputs on Pak-based groups to be shared with EC
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
The Centre has decided to step up vigil along Punjab’s border with Pakistan following intelligence inputs that militants from across the border could be planning a terror strike during elections.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said there were indications that Pakistan-based militants had even identified some targets.

He, however, dispelled any notion that this was to be seen as a ‘revival’ of the demand for ‘Khalistan’.

Sources said the Elections Commission of India will specially be briefed by one of the top functionaries of the Central intelligence agencies, in addition to a few officials who are considered “Punjab experts.”

Responding to a question if there was a terror threat during Punjab elections, the Home Minister said, “This morning, we have taken a decision to increase the level of alertness in states bordering Pakistan, and that includes Punjab.”

Chidambaram said due to the “very strong continuing flow of information”, directions have been issued to bordering states.”

Asked whether there was a revival of the Khalistan movement in Punjab, the Home Minister replied in the negative. “There is no revival of Khalistan. These are remnant elements from old groups. Many of them have fled the country, many of them have taken refuge in foreign countries.”

Elaborating on the threat, Chidambaram said “What we gather, we review every day... We alert the states who are targets... Apart from the jehadi groups, there is the BKI (Babbar Khalsa International) and some other Khalistan groups. We did bust a BKI module a few days ago.”

On December 24, Central agencies had tipped off the Delhi Police that nabbed a two-member BKI module tasked by Pakistan-based BKI chief Wadhawa Singh Babbar.

Their targets were three religious leaders — Ram Rahim of Sirsa (Haryana), Pyara Singh of Baniharawale and Ashutosh (Punjab), along with some Punjab political leaders.

Two consignments of arms, ammunition and fake currency had been supplied to them for the task. In the past, the BKI has made attempts to kill these three.

Chidambaram was Minister of State for Internal Security in the latter part of the 1980s when militancy was at its peak and the formation of Khalistan was an avowed goal of Pakistan-backed militants operating under the ISI.

The Home Minister said the report of the three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir would be made public once the Union Cabinet is given detailed briefing on the subject.

The minister admitted that violence in the country was still at an “unacceptably high level”. He listed “capacity building” as his priority in 2012.

Alert Sounded

z The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday morning raises the level of alertness in all states bordering Pakistan

z Chidambaram says poll panel will be briefed by the Central intelligence agencies





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