“Peace and communal harmony [are] in danger in Punjab under Congress rule,” claimed the Shiromani Akali Dal leader. “First Maqsudan blast, then Army Chief [Bipin Rawat] asserting need for alertness, now an attack in Amritsar. Congress government should not play with fire and act to ensure Punjab does not slip back into vortex of violence.”
Rawat had said on November 3 that attempts were being made to revive militancy in the state.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal echoed Sukhbir Singh Badal’s comments. “First bombs and now grenade attack in Amritsar, what next Raja saab?” she asked, referring to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. “When will you and your ministers stop encouraging elements bent on disturbing hard won peace? Stop playing politics and get down to serious governance. Punjabis do not want to go back into dark era.”
Amarinder Singh said the role of Khalistani or Kashmiri militant groups backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence cannot be ruled out, the Hindustan Times reported. “Police teams have been rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants,” he added. “Multiple teams are investigating various angles to crack the case.” A three-member team of the National Investigation Agency will visit the blast site on Sunday night, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Punjab Aam Aadmi Party leader HS Phoolka described as “shocking” the state police’s decision to investigate the grenade blast as an act of terror.
“Throwing grenades on a peaceful congregation by itself is not a terror act,” Phoolka tweeted sarcastically. “It will depend on who has done it. If the followers of [religious leader Gurmeet Singh] Ram Rahim have done it, then it is not a terror act. But if it has been done by a Kashmiri, then it is.”
Phoolka was referring to twin blasts near the venue of a rally of Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi in the state’s Maur town, days before the Assembly elections last year. Phoolka alleged that the police had discovered that the supporters of Ram Rahim, the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, were behind the attack but did nothing about it.
On November 15, the Aam Aadmi Party demanded an investigation into the alleged involvement of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress in the Maur explosion.
Earlier in the afternoon, the chief minister had asked the state home secretary and senior police officials, including Director General of Police Suresh Arora, to visit the blast site and supervise investigations. “My heart goes out to victims of the Amritsar bomb blast and their families,” Singh had said. “My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each of the dead and free treatment to the injured. Have asked district administration to extend all help.”