Badal rules out revival of terrorism in Punjab

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Ludhiana, Oct 15: Even as law enforcing agencies groped for a possible lead into last nights bomb explosion inside the Shingara cinema complex here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal categorically stated that the incident did not signal the revival of terrorism in Punjab.

"There is no question of revival of terrorism in the state, the incident is just the handiwork of certain elements who want to disturb the peace in the country", he said while addressing mediapersons here after visiting the explosion site and the injured in the CMC hospital and the civil hospital.

"Terrorism can only be revived with the support of the people and in Punjab not even a point per cent of the public support terrorism", he added.

The explosion left six migrant labourers, including a child dead and injured 33 others, according to official figures given out by the district administration. The toll is expected to go up as many of the injured are stated to be in a serious state.

Decscribing the incident as sad and a barbaric act, Mr Badal assured that no leaf would be left unturned to get to the bottom of the conspriacy. " At this moment I cannot say anything concrete as investigating agencies are at work", the Chief Minister who was accompanied by DGP N P S Aulakh said.

Mr Aulakh admitted that so far the investigating agencies had not come across any clues to pin point the terrorist outfit responsible for the incident. "I cannot say anything at the moment", he said when asked whether the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) which was responsible for the twin bomb blasts in a Delhi cinema was behind the blast.

The DGP said that special teams of the Punjab Police had been formed to investigate the crime. ADGP (law and order) Chander Shekhar who reached the city last night held consultations with senior police officials and forensic experts.

Meanwhile, police sources admitted that about two dozen persons, a majority of them migrants had been rounded up by the police for questioning. Police teams besides visiting the areas dominated by migrant labourers also scanned through lists of persons with terrorist backgrounds who are out on bail. A police team also went to Mullanpur Dhaka village for a possible lead as two and half kg of RDX was recovered from a car near this village on September 2. The police is yet to apprehend Gurpreet Singh, a resident of the village from whose vehcile the RDX was recovered. He is said to have links with the BKI.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal and the district administration has assured the migrant labourers of all possible security measures. Asked whether the incident was an attempt to scare the migrant labourers from Punjab, the Chief Minister replied, "I cannot say".

The migrant labourers who form the backbone of the border states economy, particularly the agricultural sector have been targeted by the militants in the past. In 1989, Bhinderwala Tigers Force (BTF) deputy chief Satnam Singh Satta had killed 19 migrant labourers at a farmhouse in the Ajnala belt and the incident had created a scare and a number of labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had gone back to their home states.

Mr Badal who was to leave for Mumbai for a scheduled meeting with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has cancelled his visit.


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