One of the two accused in the Amritsar grenade attack is reportedly the son of a defence personnel who had deserted the Army after the Operation Blue Star in 1984, reported The Indian Express.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday, 21 November, that Avtar Singh, the son of Gurdial Singh, was a suspect in the attack on a Nirankari sect in Amritsar earlier this week. A senior police officer who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to The Indian Express that Gurdial was an Army deserter.
Avtar (32) hails from the Chak Mishri Khan village in Ajnala and works as a registered medical practitioner, according to the residents of the area.
Police have Avtar as the accomplice who threw the grenade that killed three people and injured about 20 others on 18 November. He is on the run, the chief minister said.
The other accused, Bikramjit Singh (26), is an alleged operative of the Khalistan Liberation Force.
Avtar has two daughters and worked in a small clinic in the village. His father owns a grocery store and the family has about four acres of land, according to The Indian Express report.
“The entire family was at home till Monday night, when the police carried out a raid. Since then, they have not been seen in the neighbourhood. We don’t know if they went somewhere, or if the police took them,” said Nirmal Kaur, a neighbour.
CM Blames Pakistan’s ISI for Attack
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has blamed the grenade attack on militants backed by Pakistan’s intelligence wing ISI.
“It was an attempt by Pakistan’s ISI to carry out terrorist actions in Punjab to disturb peace in the state.”Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister
Ruling out any communal motive, the Punjab CM described the attack as a "pure act of terror."
“We are on to the second person and it is a matter of time before we get him,” the chief minister told reporters in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Bikramjit Singh, a resident of Dhariwal village in Rajasansi police station area was arrested early on Wednesday morning near the Loharka village in Amritsar, he said.
Bikramjit is alleged to be one of the two motorcycle-borne men who were involved in the attack at the Nirankari Bhavan in Adliwal village on the outskirts of Amritsar.
Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora said that the motorcycle has been recovered.
How the Attack Was Carried Out
A CCTV footage of the attack helped arrest Bikramjit Singh, who helped identify Avtar as his accomplice.
The duo retrieved the HG 84 hand grenade, made at the Pakistan Ordinance Factories, from an orchard near Majitha where it was buried for them, DGP Arora said.
The suspects also did a recce of the Nirankari Satsang Bhavan days before the attack on 13 November, Arora said.
Bikramjit has reportedly hinted that the grenade was provided by Harmeet Singh Happy, also known as 'PhD' and suspected to be the Pakistan-based KLF chief.
During his interrogation, Bikramjit revealed that while Avtar Singh Khalsa had slipped into the Bhavan complex along with the devotees, he had subdued the two ‘sewadars’ deployed at the gate.
After hurling the grenade, the two accused fled on Bikramjit's motorcycle to Khalsa's village, Arora said.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI)