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Man Arrested As 2 Terrorists, 4 Others Escape From Jail In Punjab’s Nabha

PUNJAB: A group of gun-toting men in police uniforms stormed Punjab’s Nabha Central Jail in early this morning and freed two terrorists — including the head of Khalistan Liberation Force, terrorist Harminder Singh Mintoo — and four criminals. A man has been arrested from Uttar Pradesh for allegedly aiding the jailbreak. The men, who reached the Nabha prison in two cars, attacked a guard with a knife and forced their way into the prison. They reportedly fired more than 100 rounds. Two policemen were injured in the attack. As a manhunt started across the state, the police opened fire at a car near a checkpost in Nabha — around 25 km from the prison — killing a woman and injuring another. Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora has admitted that it was a case of “mistaken identity”. The man, Parminder, arrested from Shamli in Uttar Pradesh, had three rifles in his car, said a senior police officer. “We had suspected that these people would probably be moving to Nepal and we had deployed high security in all these areas. UP was also on high alert,” he said. Central security agencies have told the governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to remain on high alert as Harminder Mintoo could be hiding in their territory. The Punjab government has announced a reward of Rs. 25 lakh for any information on them and a probe by a Special Task Force has been launched. Following the attack, a police officer in charge of the state’s jails was suspended and two top officials of the Nabha Central Jail have been sacked. The Central government has asked for a report from the Punjab government regarding the jailbreak. “We will help the Punjab government in any way we can,” said Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who visited the jail to assess the situation, indicated Pakistan could be behind the jailbreak. Pakistan, he said, has been “desperate” to revive terror since the surgical strikes held by the Indian army across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh has accused the ruling Parkash Singh Badal government of “complicity” in the Nabha jailbreak and said it triggered fears of revival of terrorism in the state ahead of the Assembly polls. The Aam Aadmi Party has demanded that the Deputy Chief Minister step down. Harminder Singh Mintoo, 49, has been accused in more than 10 terror-related cases, including the attack on Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He was arrested from Delhi’s IGI airport in November 2014. The state police said he was trying to revive the KLF and had had close contact with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence officers. Terrorist Kashmir Singh Galwadi, associated with the pro-Khalistan movement, who was involved in an attack on a Punjab Hindu leader in Gurdaspur in 2013, also escaped. The criminals who escaped included Vicky Gondar, Gurpreet Sekhon, Neeta Deol and Amandeep.

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