Chandigarh: In an incident that has put the security agencies across Punjab on maximum alert, two dreaded Khalistan Liberation Force’s terrorists escaped from a high security prison in a daring jailbreak. The Nabha jail is among the most secure prisons in the state that houses several hardened criminals and terrorists.
The security agencies not just across Punjab have been put on highest alert, but in adjoining state of Haryana too. Those who escaped from the daring daytime jailbreak include Khalistan Liberation Force’s Harminder Singh Mintoo besides four gangsters.
Reports suggest that large number of security personnel have been deployed to hunt down the two Khalistani terrorists. The police and security agencies launched a manhunt to nab the escaped prisoners. A security lockdown was ordered along Punjab’s border with neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan and along the border with Pakistan. The Punjab government announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone giving information leading to the arrest of the six prisoners.
Reports suggest that the attackers, dressed in police uniform, breached the tight security of the prison around 9 a.m. and fired at least 100 rounds during a well-planned and executed attack that lasted barely 10 minutes, jail officials said. Despite several rounds of firing, no one was injured. Official sources said the security in the jail did not retaliate, raising suspicion. Jail officials told police that the attackers entered the prison premises by telling the outer security they had brought a prisoner for verification. Their vehicles were allowed entry.
Mintoo, arrested in 2014 and with 10 cases against him, and another terrorist, Kashmir Singh Galwadi, were among those who escaped from the jail. Mintoo had been to Pakistan a few times and had reportedly got training from the Inter-Services Intelligence. Gangsters Vicky Gonder, Gurpreet Sekhon, Neeta Deol and Vikramjit also fled. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the Home Minister, and Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora reached the Nabha jail. The Punjab government suspended the Additional DGP-Jails. The Nabha Jail Superintendent and his deputy were dismissed from service, Badal said. The attackers, about 10-12 in number, entered the jail premises in two cars, including an SUV, breaching the three-tier security ring without much effort.
Opposition parties have attacked the state government. Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh said “the incident had exposed a complete breakdown of law and order in the state, while triggering fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the assembly elections. “This has happened with the connivance of the Punjab government. They have got these people out to use them in elections. The shocking manner in which the gangsters walked into the high-security jail and freed a dreaded Khalistani terrorist along with other convicts clearly shows complicity at the highest levels,” Amarinder Singh said.
Another important political force in the state Aam Admi Party (AAP) also attacked the administration saying that law and order had touched the nadir in the state. AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal: “This shows complete breakdown of law and order in Punjab. Punjab Home Minister should immediately resign taking responsibility of the jail break and killing of innocent girl by Punjab Police.”