Punjab jails hub of ‘anti-national activities’: secret report

By Jaideep Sarin and Parminder Singh Bariana, IANS,

Chandigarh : Jails in Punjab have become a hub of “anti-national activities” with Khalistani prisoners speaking over mobile phones to contacts outside who are in touch with Pakistan, a secret report of the Punjab Police says.

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This is a dangerous development in view of the Pakistani intelligence agency’s attempt to revive terrorism of the 1980s in Punjab, officers with access to the report said.

The report, sent to intelligence officials across Punjab this month, has indicated that Pakistan-based terrorists and their Pakistani handlers were trying to revive terrorism in the state.

“Many inputs (have) indicated that jails are becoming fertile ground for anti-national activities,” said the report, a copy of which is with IANS.

“The CID (Crime Investigation Department) and CI (Central Intelligence) units should prepare a list of terrorists in jails using mobile phones, obtain their CDRs (call detail records) and shortlist numbers that need to be taken on legal interception,” said the report.

The report, sent by an additional director general of police, has cited the recent killings of social and political activist Rulda Singh in Patiala and Lily Kumar in Mansa town and their killers’ links with known terrorists.

It has pointed out to attempts by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan-based terrorists to send consignments of arms and ammunition, explosives and drugs into Punjab to revive terrorism.

Security agencies in neighbouring Rajasthan last week recovered from Barmer sector a huge quantity of RDX and other explosives and arms, which were destined for Punjab.

Intelligence officials have been asked to keep a close tab on pro-terrorist ‘bhog’ (memory service) advertisements and ‘pro-Bhindranwale’ stickers being sold across the state. Sikh separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was killed in the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984 when the Indian Army stormed the holiest Sikh shrine.

“The traditional support base of terrorism, including granthis (religious priests), Akhand Kirtani jathas (hymn singers), bailed out terrorists, old harbourers, sympathizers and overground terrorists should be kept under discreet watch,” the report said.

The report has said that terrorist collaborators in Europe, the US and Canada were active in sending funds and acting as coordinators in all these activities.

It stated that former terrorists on bail or those freed from prison were also involved in the bid to revive terrorism in Punjab.

Punjab has about a dozen major jails, and the most notorious of these, according to police sources, are located in Jalandhar, Nabha, Patiala and Amritsar.

Intelligence officials have been asked to strengthen their networks and to penetrate gangs of potential terrorists.

Even though Punjab has a 553-km fully barbed wire fenced and electrified international border with Pakistan, smuggling of drugs with links to terror elements takes place in a big way.

In recent years alone, security agencies have recovered over 1,000 kg of heroin and other drugs worth nearly Rs.50 billion (Rs.5,000 crore) in the international market.

Punjab faced a bloody phase of Sikh terrorism between 1981 and 1995 which left over 25,000 people dead. The victims included civilians, Sikh separatists and security personnel.