Opinion DC Comment 21 Nov 2018 Amritsar: Probe Pak ...

Amritsar: Probe Pak role

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Nov 21, 2018, 7:11 am IST
Updated Nov 21, 2018, 7:11 am IST
There can be little ambiguity about the attack being a professionally-executed terrorist act.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (Photo: PTI)
 Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (Photo: PTI)

While a Pakistani hand in the grenade attack on a Nirankari sect prayer meeting on Amritsar’s outskirts on Sunday can’t be ruled out, given the background of the Pakistan-backed militancy that shook Punjab in the 1980s, there can be little ambiguity about the attack being a professionally-executed terrorist act, no matter who is found responsible.

Grenade-hurling by motorcycle-borne trained men is back after an interregnum of “hard-earned peace”, to use Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s telling words. It is important to stymie any mischievous new process in the bud. The target was a congregation, not an individual. Three people were killed and 20 others injured, including women and children. The most likely motive is to sow fear and chaos. Only a few days earlier, there had been a carjacking of an SUV in Punjab and a grenade of a similar type as used against the Nirankaris, while at prayer, had been found.

 

Capt. Amarinder Singh has spoken of the grenades bearing similarity with those made by the Pakistan Ordnance Factory. That alone is not conclusive. In 1978, fierce blood-letting had occurred between mainstream Sikh groups and the Nirankaris, an offshoot of Sikhism. But since then, there has been quiet. The Nirankari congregation made a soft target. This may suggest an attempt to incite faith-based conflagrations. The state government and the Centre need to work together to tackle this threat.

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