Plot to kill Sacha Sauda chief foiled, two arrested with explosives

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Jagraon, Jun 17 (UNI) The Punjab Police have arrested two suspected terrorists with 24 kg explosive material, foiling a plot to assassinate Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Baba Gurmit Ram Raheem Singh and Piara Singh Bhaniarwala, head of another religious sect in the state.

The arrests were made near the Akhara village on the Raikot-Jagraon road in Ludhiana Rural police district last night, police said today.

Giving details, IGP (Jalandhar zone) Sanjiv Kalra told mediapersons here that during routine patrolling, a police party stopped a motorcycle and a check of the baggage of the pillion rider revealed 195 sticks of black coloured material, 25 detonators and cordex wire.

Later, explosive experts concluded that the sticks bearing markings of a Nagpur firm and weighing 24 kg were some form of explosive material.

The IGP said the detonators bore the name of some factory in Andhra Pradesh. The explosive material, according to the experts, was not RDX but an equally powerful material, he said.

Police would be able to find out more about the detonators and explosive sticks only after interrogation of the two suspected terrorists, he added.

The two were identified as Gurpej Singh alias Sonu of Kathunangal village in Amritsar district and Manjit Singh of Jagraon.

They had links with a Hamburg (Germany) based terrorist sympathiser, However, the two were not working for any specific Punjab terrorist outfit but had contacts with certain groups.

Mr Kalra said although their prime target was Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh and Piara Singh Bhaniarwala, they had also planned to carry out explosions in congested localities in the major cities of Punjab.

The police was yet to estabish a link between these two suspected terrorists and the three arrested recently in Jammu who too had planned to eliminate the Dera Sacha Sauda head and Bhaniarwala.

Both Ram Raheem and Bhaniarwala have been accused by Sikh radicals of distorting the teachings of the Sikh gurus. The Dera head had a couple of months ago survived an assassination attempt near Karnal in Haryana.

UNI XC-HS RR RAI1536

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