Twin blasts in Punjab

Twin blasts in Punjab

On 31st Jan 17, three persons, including a Congress worker, were killed and five injured in twin blasts at Maur, 30 km from Bathinda. At around 8.30pm Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi had taken out a car procession when blasts took place. The three people who died last night have been identified as Harpal Singh, Jassi’s personal assistant; Ashok Kumar, a beggar; and his 10-year-old daughter, Barkha.

Who is responsible?

  • On 31st Jan 17, three persons, including a Congress worker, were killed and five injured in twin blasts at Maur, 30 km from Bathinda. At around 8.30pm Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi had taken out a car procession when blasts took place.
  • The three people who died last night have been identified as Harpal Singh, Jassi’s personal assistant; Ashok Kumar, a beggar; and his 10-year-old daughter, Barkha.

Comment

  • In Jan 2016, Pathankot attack was a terrorist attack committed by a heavily armed group. 
  • In August 2015, Punjab home minister Colonel (retd) Shuja Khanzada was killed in a suicide attack on his political office in Shadi Khan village, Attock, along with 16 others.
  • On 27 July 2015 three gunmen dressed in army uniforms opened fire on a bus and then attacked the Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs stated that the attacks were carried out by Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Analysis

  • Two crude IEDs were planted in a scooter and a car and were detonated with remote control. The abandoned car and scooter were parked near the election meeting venue on the route to be taken by Jassi after the rally.
  • According to the spot inspection by the district police, the bombs were packed into pressure cookers and placed in the car and scooter respectively. Nuts and bolts were filled with the explosive to act as shrapnel.

Assessment

It appears unlikely that the attack was perpetrated by foreign terrorists or Khalistani insurgents. It is more likely that it was an act of election mischief, which is corroborated by the poor quality of IEDs used. Punjab police should identify the perpetrators and act quickly so that such incidents can be avoided in the future.

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