Chandigarh, May 11
The suspects in the three cases of blasts in Amritsar did not only throw bombs, but also open letters mentioning about their motive behind the incidents, highly placed sources in the police told The Tribune.
May 6 (11.45 pm): First blast near the multi-storey Saragarhi parking on the Heritage Street, around 750 m away from the Golden Temple
May 8 (6.30 am): Second blast in Amritsar also occurred near the same spot
May 11 (12.15 am): Third blast near Guru Ram Das Niwas Serai, around 700 m away from the Golden Temple
The letters thrown with the first two bombs were almost destroyed in the blasts. However, several pieces of the letter thrown with the third bomb last midnight were found by the SGPC staff and could be pieced together. It reportedly revealed the intention behind the three blasts.
Officials said suspect Azadbir, who threw the bombs, had written all three letters in Punjabi. The letters indicated that all suspects were upset over statements that “Punjab was not part of India” after a girl was allegedly denied entry into the Golden Temple because she had a flag (similar to the Tricolour) painted on her face.
Content of the letter
- The suspects were upset over statements that “Punjab was not part of India” after a girl was allegedly denied entry into the Golden Temple because she had a flag (similar to the Tricolour) painted on her face
- They also expressed disappointment over police action against pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh and his associates saying it was unwarranted
- Cutting of hair and trimming of beard by the Sikh youth and easy availability of tobacco in Amritsar had also upset them
The suspects also expressed disappointment over police action against pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh and his associates saying it was unwarranted. They expressed anger over cutting of hair and trimming of beard by the Sikh youth saying it was disrespect to Sikhism. They also deplored easy availability of tobacco in Amritsar.
Officials said all five suspects seemed to have been recently radicalised as they did not have any serious criminal record. “All pieces of the letter have not been found. We are trying to study it further,” said officials. The available portions of the letter did not reveal to whom it was addressed, officials said.
The suspects did not intend to harm anyone as the bombs were thrown at isolated places, they added. “Had the letter accompanying the first bomb been found intact, they might not have been able to carry out two more blasts,” claimed an official.
“They have not confessed to be members of any organisation, but our investigation is in progress,” they said.
Five suspects in police custody
Azadbir Singh is the prime suspect. He was released on parole during the pandemic in order to decongest jails. In 2021, an FIR was registered against him for hurting religious sentiments and creating disharmony among communities. However, the police reportedly failed to arrest and file challan against him in the court.
Azadbir hails from Wadala Kalan village in Baba Bakala tehsil. He got a job in the SDM office, Tarn Taran, on compassionate ground. Sources said he became a drug addict and was dismissed from the service nine years ago. The police said he came in contact with another suspect, Dharminder Singh, at a de- addiction centre in the Chatiwind area. Former cop Ashnil Kumar, who heads a temple trust in Chheharta, filed complaints against him after he received death threats from unidentified callers from Pakistan and Dubai.
Amrik Singh, a school dropout and resident of Adhian, Gurdaspur, married Sandeep Kaur of the adjoining Purewal Jattan village around a year ago. Three FIRs pertaining to robbery and theft are registered against him. Amrik’s elder brother, who runs a small-time grocery shop in the village, was also picked up by the Dorangla police.
Lakhvir Singh, father of Amrik, said, “He was definitely into drugs, but maintained a low profile. To arrange money for drugs, he took to small-time thefts. He left the house in February and never came back. I thought he would return once he had exhausted the entire money in his possession.” The family, which owes just two acres of land, does not speak much about Sandeep, who is also being questioned by the police. “The doors of my house are permanently closed for Amrik,” said Lakhvir.
Sahib Singh, alias Saba Patakiyanwala, is a known firecracker dealer in the Anngarh area that was once known as mini Sivakasi of Amritsar. He allegedly supplied the explosives to Azadbir and Amrik.
Sahib is a licensed dealer and runs a firecracker manufacturing unit in Anngarh. He owns properties in Aman Avenue and other parts of the city. When the media reached his house in the Gate Hakima area, it was found locked. Locals said the family went underground two days ago after his name cropped up during the investigation in the twin blast cases near Saragarhi multi-storey parking on the Heritage Street. A couple of cases have already been registered against him under the Explosives Act. He is said to be associated with politicians.
Harjit and Dharminder are drug addicts. They came in contact with anti-social elements at a drug de-addiction centre a few months ago. While Harjit Singh is a widower, Dharminder is married to his daughter Laxmi. Both families live in the same house in Shri Ram Avenue on the Majitha road. Earlier, Harjit used to work as a parking attendant at a private hospital. Dharminder had recently sold his old auto-rickshaw. Harjit’s mother Charanjit Kaur said, “He was an alcoholic and is not capable of committing such a crime. I used to thrash him whenever he consumed liquor.”
Charanjit said her son and son-in-law were sleeping when the police raided the house early morning. “Initially, the police said they were after Dharminder, but they picked up Harjit as well,” she said. Laxmi, wife of Dharminder, said her husband was a drug addict. “I do not think he is capable of making a bomb or can be a member of a terror group,” she said.
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