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Babbar Khalsa Implicated in Jo Bole So Nihaal Bombings, Planned Assassinations


Press Trust of India (P.T.I.), New Delhi, Jun. 2, 2005

Photo: Wadhawa Singh Babbar

In an attempt to foment communal tension and revive militancy in Punjab, Pakistan-based Babbar Khalsa militant outfit had planned to assassinate three prominent Sikh leaders of the state, two of them in public.

The revelation was made by two activists of the outfit arrested on Tuesday by Delhi Police for triggering bomb blasts at two cinema halls in the national capital on May 22 in which one person was killed and more than 70 injured, police sources said here today.

The serious dimension to the threat was lent by the recovery of a uniform of a Punjab Police Head Constable from the hideout here of Jaspal Singh, mastermind in the cinema hall bomb blasts.

Interrogation of Balvinder Singh, who was arrested on Tuesday along with Jagannath Yadav, had revealed the group planned to assassinate Ajit Singh Poolah, Ashutosh Maharaj and Pyara Singh Paniharwala.

Maharaj, the head of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, and Paniharwala, a prominent Dalit leader, were to be targeted in public so as arouse communal passions, the sources said.

The assassination plan was hatched in an attempt to revive militancy in Punjab which was brought under control in the 1990s, the sources said.

The militants are believed to have told interrogators that the Pakistani masters of Babbar Khalsa are pressurising the outfit's chief Wadhwa Singh to 'do something.'

While Maharaj's society has attracted a large number of converts, Paniharwala has thousands of followers and Poolah is a prominent Nihang Sikh leader.

'It appears that the uniform was intended to be used to reach close to them to carry out the attack,' they said.

The plot had been hatched by Jaspal and Satnam Singh, the Germany-based son-in-law of Babbar Khalsa International leader Wadhwa Singh.

As Wadhwa Singh was presently believed to be in Lahore, the hand of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence could not be ruled out, the sources said.

What lent credence to this line of investigation was the fact that Jaspal and Balvinder, who had travelled to Bangkok on April 22, had later gone to Dubai.

Investigations were on to determine whom they met in Dubai, the sources said.

They had also met one Shahid in Bangkok whose antecedents were still to be revealed.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh said Jaspal was trying to establish a different identity in Delhi to carry out his operations. 'We recovered some documents from his house in Inderpuri which revealed that he had applied for a passport in the name of Honey Sahota. This application was, however, rejected after police verification. But he managed to get a driving license in this name,' the J.C.P. said.

A .303 rifle and some S.L.R. ammunination was also recovered which showed that Jaspal had great 'procuring capabilities' as such arms and ammunination were not easy to get, Singh said.

It was also Jaspal who had convinces Balvinder and Jagannath to join in the plan.

Police had recovered a Santro car which belonged to Jagannath and a Tata Sierra the ownership of which was still to be ascertained.

Balvinder's interrogation revealed that he had a book containing pictures of wanted militants including Wadhwa.