NEWS
18/11/2018 3:52 PM IST | Updated 18/11/2018 4:31 PM IST

Amritsar Blast: Attack That Left 3 Dead Happened Despite Punjab Being On High Terror Alert

The attack left three people dead and several injured.

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People gather outside after a blast at Nirankari Bhawan, a prayer hall in Adliwal village near Amritsar, India, Sunday, Nov.18, 2018. (AP Photo/Prabhjot Gill)

Jalandhar, PUNJAB: At least three people were killed and ten injured in an explosion inside the Nirankari Bhavan at Adliwal village near Amritsar's Rajasansi on Sunday. The site where the explosion occurred is situated three kilometres away from the Rajasansi International Airport on the outskirts of the city.

Kamaljeet Singh Sangha, deputy commissioner, Amritsar, said: " It is too early to confirm it as a terror attack and to link it to some terror outfit. Presently the investigation has been launched into the case. Even though security arrangements were in place, it is impossible to prevent all such attacks."

SPS Parmar, IG Border Zone, said that two unidentified men — wearing shawls that covered their bodies and faced wrapped in cloth — came on a motorcycle and parked it outside the Nirankari Bhawan. At least 200 people, including women and children, were present inside for the Sunday congregation at the prayer hall.

After parking their bike, the assailants took a woman — who was standing in guard at the gates — hostage at gunpoint and forced their way in. Once they were inside close to the gathering of devotees, they threw a grenade and make a swift escape.

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Top officials of the police and security agencies rushed to the spot after the attack. The attack is being seen as a major security failure as the state was already on high alert following news that seven terrorists are present at nearby Ferozpur. It is being said that the militants belong to Al Qaeda sponsored Ansar Ghazwat -Ul-Hind group.

Two days ago, a high alert was issued in the state after former Hizbul Commander Zakir Musa was allegedly spotted in Amritsar. Police in Amritsar had pasted posters in public spaces asking people to keep an eye out for Musa.

Following the attack, Punjab Chief Minister captain Amarinder Singh has called an emergency meeting to review the security arrangements of the state. It has been learnt that the police has been asked to beef up the security of the religious places and other sects in the state.

Experts pointed out that the modus operandi of the attackers in the Amritsar explosion is very similar to the one that was embraced by the men who threw four low-intensity bombs at a police station in Jalandhar's Maqsudan area in September this year. At that time, two assailants came riding a bike and threw bombs at the police station.

Four people were arrested in connection to the attack and during that investigation it was learnt that Hizbul's Musa has enlisted the help of the ISI to organise terror attacks in Punjab.