The Punjab Police on Saturday arrested seven alleged militants of the Babbar Khalsa group in Ludhiana, ANI reported. Ludhiana Police Commissioner RN Dhoke said that the militants were planning to target those who wrote against the Khalistan movement, reported local daily the Punjab Kesari.

The targets are believed to have included politicians and people associated with several Hindu organisations.

The Khalistan movement is a Sikh nationalist movement which seeks to create an independent homeland for the Sikh community. Dhoke said that the Ludhiana Police and counter-intelligence personnel conducted a joint operation to nab the accused. “They [the militants] were in contact with Surinder Singh Babbar, a terrorist based out of England, through Facebook,” Dhoke said. He added that Babbar was funding the militants to provoke unrest in Punjab.

The accused have been identified as Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, Jasbir Singh from Tarantaran, Amanpreet Singh from Jalandhar, Manpreet Singh from Moga, and Onkar Singh, Jograt Singh and Amrutpal Singh, from Amritsar. The police said that weapons and live cartridges were also confiscated.