Case of 3 minor blasts near Golden Temple cracked, 5 held but motive still unclear

NSG team was at twin-blast site near Amritsar’s Golden Temple for investigation | ANI

Chandigarh: The Punjab police on Thursday claimed to have cracked the case of three low-intensity blasts near Golden Temple in Amritsar that took place since late Saturday night, the latest being post-Wednesday midnight.

According to police, low-grade explosives used in firecrackers were used with the improvised explosive device (IED) for triggering these three minor blasts.

Golden Temple blasts

It may be recalled that the first blast had occurred near Saragari Sarai on Heritage Street near Golden Temple around 11.30 pm on May 6 and the second blast around 6 am on May 8 close to the same spot. The third explosion took place around 12.30 am last intervening night (post-Wednesday-midnight) near “Galiara’’ (meaning the pathway and park around the Golden Temple).

Only one person had sustained minor injuries in the first explosion.

Giving details about the headway in the case, director general of police (DGP), Punjab Gaurav Yadav said that the accused assembled the IEDs at Guru Ramdas Serai (Inn) where they were staying.

Motive behind blasts still not clear

Though the police had earlier held that the motive behind these blasts appeared to disturb peace in the state, the DGP held it would be too early to say so.

The five accused arrested in the case are Azad Bir Singh, 36, a resident of Wadala Kalan village near Baba Bakala area in Amritsar, Amrik Singh, 26, resident of Adrian village, Gurdaspur district, Sahib Singh from Gate Haqima area, Harjit Singh and Dharminder Singh from Majitha road area. The last three named accused hail from Amritsar district.

How the blasts were planned

DGP Yadav said that Azad Bir and Amrik Singh assembled the IEDs after procuring them from Dharminder Singh who had got in touch with Harjit Singh who took the same from Sahib Singh, a license holder of explosives used for manufacturing firecrackers, from Anagarh area. The police has also recovered 1.1 kg of explosives from Azad Bir, he added.

He said their arrest followed after police technically examined the CCTV cameras installed in the Guru Ram Dass Sarai which corroborated their locations at the time of all the three explosions.

Police initiate in-depth scientific probe

The DGP Yadav further said that the police had initiated an in-depth scientific probe about the links of the accused and their associates in India and abroad.

The police said Sahib Singh, incidentally, was booked as recently as on May 7 for making firecrackers without any licence. Azad Bir was booked in June 2021 for hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. Amrik Singh was booked for theft of mobile phone and cash in May 2021, while Dharminder Singh was booked in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) case in Amritsar on December 22, 2022.

SGPC flays Punjab Govt

Meanwhile, even though the DGP thanked SGPC authorities and appreciated the SGPC task force for their splendid action in pinpointing the suspects, the SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami accused the state government of being negligent about the earlier two incidents because of which the third one took place.

He held that it was the security squad of the Gurdwara which had immediately apprehended the three persons including a couple, staying in Guru Ramdas Serai behind which the latest explosion had taken place and handed over them to the police.

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