Chandigarh, Nov 18: Three people were killed while at least 15 others injured in an explosion at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village in Punjab on Sunday morning.
Nirankari Bhawan is a prayer hall of a religious sect.
“3 dead and 10 injured in the blast at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village,” IG (Border) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said.
“Out of 250 people who were present in the religious congregation, 3 dead and 15 to 20 injured. As per initial reports, 2 people had come over here who knocked a grenade here,” IG Parmar added.
According to eyewitnesses, two to three bike-borne men carried out the grenade attack who later fled. They were masked.
Following the blast, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called for an emergency meeting.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned the incident and said he has asked the state home secretary and senior police officials, including the director general of police, to visit the spot for investigations.
“My heart goes out to victims of the Amritsar bomb blast and their families,” Singh said.
“My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each of the dead and free treatment to the injured. Have asked district administration to extend all help.”
Singh did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of Khalistani or Kashmiri militant groups behind the grenade attack.
In a statement issued hours after the incident, the CM, who held a review meeting, said police teams were rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants and multiple teams have begun investigating the various angles to crack the case.
Amarinder said while the state had been hit by a series of cases of targeted attacks since 2015-16, this was the first attempt, in a long time, to disrupt peace through indiscriminate killings.
He added that such incidents only strengthened the belief that Pakistan was continuing with its “nefarious activities to disturb the law and order in the state”.
The CM also said that the preliminary probe had so far revealed that two men, one of them with a flowing beard and both with covered faces, had allegedly forced their way into the hall by brandishing a pistol.
The duo detained the sewadar, lobbed the grenade into the prayer room and fled on a motorcycle.
A crater, which is three inches in diameter, was formed due to the impact of the explosion and is currently being examined by the forensic team. The safety valve of the grenade was also found and is being examined.
Earlier, soon after the blast, Amarinder had ordered the Home Secretary, DG Police, DG Law and Order and DG Intelligence to immediately rush to village Adliwal to supervise the probe.
State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar offered his condolences to the families of those killed. He called the attack “an attempt to disturb peace in Punjab”. “I believe all the security agencies should stay alert and coordinate with each other to maintain peace,” Jakhar added.
Punjab has been on alert following an input that a group of six to seven militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad are in the state. Zakir Moosa, the commander of a militant group affiliated with the al-Qaeda, is also reportedly hiding in the state.
Last week, four people hijacked a car at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district. Police in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala were put on high alert following the incident.