At least four people were killed and 15 injured in a grenade attack on a religious congregation at village Adliwal near Amritsar on Sunday.
The incident took place in the Nirankari Bhavan, said the police. A religious congregation of the Nirankaris was being conducted at the time of the incident. About 200 devotees, including many women were inside.
Probe under way
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said forensic teams had been rushed to the spot and all angles were being investigated. "The possibility of involvement of ISI-backed Khalistani and Kashmiri terror groups can not be ruled out. Police teams have been rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants and multiple teams are investigating, "Capt. Amarinder said.
The attack has come at a time when the Punjab police were on high alert following intelligence inputs on infiltration of six to seven Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists from across the international border. The Chief Minister said two men, one of them with a flowing beard, with covered faces, forced their way into the hall with a pistol. They detained the 'sewadar,' lobbed the grenade into the prayer room and fled on a motorcycle.
A small crater was formed by the impact of the explosion, and was being examined by the forensic teams.
The safety valve of the grenade had also been found and was being examined, the CM said.
Inspector-General of Police, Border range (Amritsar), S.P.S. Parmar told The Hindu, "The attack has been against a group of people and not against any individual. It seems to be a terror attack as there's no reason to throw a hand at grenade on a group of people. "
The Counter Intelligence wing of the Punjab police earlier this week issued a circular regarding the infiltration of the JeM terrorists through the international border in Ferozepur.
Moreover, the security agencies were also on alert after four persons snatched an SUV from its driver at gunpoint near Madhopur in Punjab's Pathankot district a few days back.
Capt. Amarinder said the attack strengthened the belief that Pakistan was continuing with its nefarious activities to disturb the State's peace.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet that the "strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of this crime."
Soon after the attack the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party hit at the Congress government in Punjab and raised questions about the law and order situation in the State.
5 lakh compensation
The Chief Minister announced a compensation of ○ five lakh each to the kin of the dead and directed the administration to provide the best medical care, free of cost, to the injured.
I have appealed to the people not to panic and maintain peace.
(With PTI inputs)