Pathankot attack: Is ISI laying the groundwork for revival of Punjab militancy?

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With the National Investigating Agency findings similarities between the Pathankot and the Dinanagar attacks, it is also trying to find out if anyone part of the Punjab militancy had a role to play.

While it has established by and large that the drug mafia had a role to play when it came to the infiltration of the terrorists into India, the NIA will also look to find if the Punjab militants had any link.

Also read: India awaits Pakistan team to probe Pathankot attack

Is ISI reviving Punjab militancy?

There have been intelligence bureau reports in the past which suggest that those part of the Punjab militancy had been hand in glove with the drug smugglers who operate along the Indo-Pak border.

Investigators would look into this angle as well since it is also trying to find out who locally had helped the terrorists who attacked Pathankot.

Laying the ground work

While it has been almost ascertained that both the Dinanagar or Gurdaspur attack carried out last year and the Pathankot strike were the handiwork of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the motive is also being studied. While one of the motives is to derail the Indo-Pak peace process, the other is clearly relating to Kashmir.

With the name of Afzal Guru being quoted, Intelligence Bureau officials say that the message was to further an armed struggle in Kashmir.

However there is also another aspect to both the Dinanagar and Pathankot attack. The ISI which has been shielding the Khalistan terrorists since the past 15 years may be trying to lay the ground in a bid to revive militancy in Punjab.

It appears as though the Khalistan militants who are familiar with the Punjab terrain are currently being used for logistics and local help, an officer with the Intelligence Bureau said.

Both the Pathankot and the Dinanagar attacks would not have been possible without local help. Hence it would be pertinent to probe into the possible role of the Khalistan militants as well, the officer noted.

Caretaker of shrine to be questioned

During the questioning of the Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police, Salwinder Singh, he had said that he had visited a shrine near the Indo-Pak border before he was abducted. While the NIA is seeking to know why he had visited the shrine twice on December 31, they are also proposing to question the caretaker.

The NIA has sought to know why Singh visited the Shrine once again in the night of December 31 when he had already gone there that morning. Was there any activity near that place is what seek to know, the NIA officer informed.

The NIA is likely to question the caretaker of the shrine for more details. The shrine is located near Bamiyal, the village from where the terrorists are said to have infiltrated into India.

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