At least three people were killed and 20 others sustained grievous injuries in a terrorist attack on a religious congregation at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar's Rajasansi village, the police said. According to eyewitnesses, two bike-borne terrorists lobbed hand grenades at Nirankari Bhawan and fled the scene. The attack took place amid a high alert issued by Punjab police on Thursday after they received intelligence about the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist Zakir Moosa in Amritsar. However, the Punjab police denied Zakir Moosa’s hand in the attack but Chief Minister Amarinder Singh suspected that Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency ISI could be behind the attack.
"It (this incident) appears to have a terror angle. Because it is against a group (of people) and it is not against any individual. There is no reason to throw a hand grenade on a group of people, so we will take it as a terrorist act. Till proven otherwise, prima facie we will take it as that," PTI quoted Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora as saying.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh condemned the attack and urged people to maintain peace. He vowed not let terrorists destroy the “hard-earned” peace of Punjab.
“I appeal to the people of Punjab to maintain peace in wake of Amritsar bomb blast...We will not let the forces of terror destroy our hard-earned peace,” Singh wrote on Twitter.
The chief minister also said that the possibility of ‘Khalistanis’ (Sikh separatists) involvement in the attack can’t be ruled out and agencies were investigating the attack from all the possible angles.
A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) also reached the spot as part of its SOP. The NIA keeps a track of all the cases related to terrorism. However, the decision on whether the probe would be handed over to NIA would be taken by the Union Home Ministry after the initial report from Punjab.