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Radical Sikh leaders arrested by Punjab police

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Amritsar: Radical Sikh leaders from in and around Amritsar in Punjab were arrested to prevent a religious showdown at the Golden Temple complex on Wednesday, police sources said.

Mokham Singh, separatist leader and former IPS officer Simranjit Singh Mann and Amrik Singh Ajnala were arrested late Tuesday, the sources said on Wednesday.

While Mokham Singh and Mann were taken to a police station here, Ajnala was put under house arrest.

The arrests came within hours of a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (grand assembly of Sikhs) congregation at Chaba near Amritsar on Tuesday in which controversial decisions, including the sacking of jathedars (chiefs) of three takhts (temporal seats) of Sikh religion, were taken and convicted Khalistani terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara was named as the Akal Takht chief.

“The Punjab Police arrested the top radical leaders to prevent any untoward situation at the Golden Temple complex and other gurdwaras as the newly announced heads of the takhts would have tried to take over,” a senior Punjab Police officer told IANS.

Deepening the crisis within Sikh religious affairs, radical Sikhs on Tuesday had announced the “appointment” of Hawara, the main accused in the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was killed by a human bomb in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995, as the Akal Takht jathedar.

The congregation of radicals also announced the “removal” of all Sikh high priests, including the present Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh.

Hawara is serving a life term in the Beant Singh assassination case and is lodged in Chandigarh’s high-security Burail jail. Hawara was involved in a sensational jailbreak from the same prison in January 2004 with two other terrorists after digging a 104-feet long tunnel. He was arrested later by the Delhi Police.

During the congregation, in view of Hawara being in prison, the leaders announced that former MP Dhian Singh Mand would be the interim jathedar of the Akal Takht and would address the Sikh community from the shrine, located inside the Golden Temple complex, on Diwali on Wednesday.

The congregation was organized by a few radical Sikh groups.

Accusing them of “genocide of Sikhs”, the congregation named former police chief K.P.S. Gill and Operation Bluestar commander K.S. Brar, both Sikhs themselves, as ‘tankhaiya’ (the person guilty of religious misconduct) and directed them to appear before the Akal Takht by November 20.

The congregation also announced the disbanding the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikhs, and said that fresh elections for the SGPC would be held.

The congregation was attended by nearly 50,000 people, including Congress party leaders and radical Sikhs.

(IANS)

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Heroin worth Rs. 100 crore seized by BSF in Punjab

22kg heroine was recovered during a combat between Pakistani smugglers and BSF troopers

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22kg heroin seized in Punjab
BSF recovers heroine worth Rs. 100 crores from Pakistani smugglers. Wikimedia Commons.

In a joint operation, Border Security Forces (BSF) troopers and the Punjab Police have recovered 22kg of heroin in Punjab’s Ferozepur sector following exchange of fire with Pakistani smugglers near the international border, a BSF officer said on Saturday.

The encounter took place late on Friday following a tip-off that smugglers were trying to send heroin consignment into India.

At least one Pakistani smuggler was injured in the exchange of fire as blood stains were found during search of the area on Saturday, BSF officer D.S. Rajpurohit said.

The BSF recovered a pistol and one Pakistani Sim card.

The BSF also arrested three Indian smugglers who were waiting close to the border fence to collect the heroin consignment.

The smugglers were trying to smuggle the heroin consignment using a plastic pipe across the border fence.

The heroin is worth nearly Rs 110 crore in the international market.

The Ferozepur border is around 275 km from here.

Punjab shares a 553-km-long barbed-wire fenced international border with Pakistan. (IANS)

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