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Posted at: Nov 17, 2019, 6:56 AM; last updated: Nov 17, 2019, 6:56 AM (IST)

Intel agencies on alert after seizure of opium from 2 jatha members

Various associations dispel fears, say incident isolated
Intel agencies on alert after seizure of opium  from 2 jatha members
Customs officials had seized over 700-gm opium and 290-gm poppy husk in Amritsar on Friday.

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 16

Even as the intelligence and security agencies are alarmed over the seizure of contraband from two jatha members who had gone to Nankana Sahib on the 550th Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak, various organisations have allayed the concerns expressed by authorities. 

Though the jatha returned on Thursday, the Customs authorities confirmed the seizure of 700-gm opium and 290-gm poppy husk on Friday evening. The contraband was recovered from Jarnail Singh and Baldev Singh, both residents of Jhuradkhera village in Fazilka. 

These agencies have expressed their concern, while pointing out that anti-national elements in Pakistan might use jatha members for carrying out their nefarious activities like smuggling of contraband. This is the first incident in which jatha members have been found smuggling contraband.

Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, on the other hand, demanded a high-level probe from an independent agency while accusing the agencies of “defaming jathas.” The persons arrested were part of the jatha sent by society. 

“Intelligence agencies verify the antecedents of those who apply for visa for going to Pakistan with the jatha. We condemn the incident and do not support the duo, but the truth should be brought forth,” he said. He pointed out that this could also have its impact on the jathas going to Kartarpur Sahib through the new corridor. 

SGPC member Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, on the other hand, described the apprehensions of intelligence agencies as an effort to sabotage the Kartarpur corridor. “While I cannot comment on the arrest of two persons, but the apprehensions (if any) of the agencies of misusing religious jathas for anti-national activities were baseless. I feel this is only an effort to sabotage the Kartarpur corridor,” she said. 

Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, spokesperson, Dal Khalsa, said the arrests would not have any impact on the Kartarpur corridor as it was an isolated incident. “Though it was an isolated incident, it has caused an embarrassment to the community,” he said. 

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