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2021 Pathankot blasts: Uttarakhand STF nabs four who aided key accused Sukhpreet Singh


DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand Special Task Force (STF) in a joint operation with Udham Singh Nagar district police on Saturday arrested four men who provided accommodation and other assistance to the accused of Punjab bomb blasts Sukhpreet Singh aka 'Sukh' who is on the run.

Interestingly, Sukhpreet Singh who is wanted in the bomb blasts managed to flee from the spot said the police officials. 

Ajay Singh, senior SP (STF), said, "We have recovered a .32 bore pistol and a Ford Figo car from their possession and booked them under section 25 (1A) of the Arms Act 1959 and section 19 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967. The four accused have been produced in court. We have also informed the central agencies and the Punjab police."

In November 2021, Navashehar and Ludhiana cities were rocked by blasts. 

The STF officials said there were two terror incidents -- In one incident, some unidentified people hurled hand grenades near Chakki Pull in Pathankot on November 11, 2021 while another grenade attack took place outside Triveni Dwar, 21 sub-area of Army cam in the city on November 21, 2021.

Barinderjit Singh, senior SP, Udham Singh Nagar district, told The New Indian Express: "After an intel was shared by the Punjab police, we started joint operation with STF to arrest the accused. Raids were conducted at several suspected hideouts in Pantnagar town of the district from where we managed to nab the four accused."

The four accused identifies as Shamsher Singh alias Shera (26), Harpreet Singh alias Happy (24), Gurpal Singh alias Guri Dhillon (24), and Ajmer Singh alias Laddi were nabbed in Udham Singh Nagar district of the state. 

The accused are associated with Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), and were in contact with their handlers in Australia, Serbia, and Canada via internet and WhatsApp calls.

A case has been already registered in Pathankot of Punjab. On January 11, 2022, the Punjab police arrested six operatives of the ISYF. 

During the interrogation, the arrested accused revealed that they were directly in touch with the self-proclaimed Chief of ISYF (Rode) Lakhbir Singh Rode who is residing in Lahore of Pakistan, and Arshdeep Singh, a resident of Canada and an active member of KTF. 

Nilesh Anand Bharney, deputy inspector general of the Kumaon division, said that these groups target Sikh youths and radicalize them.

"The modus operandi involves making contact through social media and introducing radical ideas to brainwash them. An investigation is being conducted in the matter to unearth a network and support system of these groups in the state, " said Bharney.