Updated: August 9, 2021 10:11:10 pm
Ahead of Independence Day, a high alert was sounded in Punjab Monday after police recovered a tiffin box fabricated into an improvised explosive device (IED) from a village in Amritsar, which they suspect was part of a consignment dropped by a drone from Pakistan.
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said some other explosives were also found from the bag containing the tiffin bomb recovered from Daleke village under Lopoke police station in Amritsar Sunday.
“Some recoveries were made in Amritsar (rural), which include five grenades, Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-fitted tiffin box & 100 rounds of 9mm pistol. As per our assessment, these bombs were delivered via a drone from across the border,” Gupta told a media conference here.
The DGP said that the sarpanch of nearby village informed police about a sound of thud he heard, as drone returned after dropping the consignment.
“It appears to be assembly line production type thing. There may be more of such tiffin boxes, which would be coming, or might have come and we don’t know yet,” said the DGP.
The Punjab Police informed the National Security Guard (NSG).
“The NSG team in its preliminary report has noted said it is a sophisticated bomb and has about 2-3 kg of RDX explosive,” DGP said , adding the tiffin bomb has three mechanisms to trigger the blast.
“It has a switch mechanism that can trigger a timed explosion. It also has a magnetic mechanism wherein the bomb goes off when two U-shaped magnets get joined. It also has a spring mechanism where the bomb explodes if pressure is applied,” the DGP said, adding it had a printed circuit board and three detonators for remote activation.
The power source was two made in Malaysia 9-volt batteries, the DGP said adding the explosives were packed in seven layers of foam.
“It is a double-decker lunch box, the kind that children take to school. It could have been used against any target,” he said, adding, “We don’t know how many of such boxes have come (already)”.
The DGP said the explosives could have been meant for a “high value”, but added “as of now, we don’t know the targets” or if it was meant for some other place and Punjab was just a transit state.
Answering a query whether there was any conspiracy to target Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Gupta said, “We don’t have any inputs to say that it (explosives consignment) was to target him. But, he is a target as he has been speaking openly against terrorist activity going on from across the border and about militant groups”.
He said it was after a long time that “such a thing has come into notice” and termed the recovery as “a very sinister and worrisome development”.
“In the last two to three months, there has been increased activity from across the border. There is a lot of pressure on militant outfits, and anti-national elements to do something around Independence Day and this is in the notice of Punjab Police and central agencies involved in counter-terrorism efforts,” the DGP said.
“Whether it is BSF or other agencies, they are making efforts and everyone is alive to this threat from drones, which is the most potent threat at this time,” he said, adding that the Punjab Police was “working closely” with the NIA and BSF.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the recent drone attack on the Jammu air force station — the first instance of Pakistan-based terrorists deploying drones to strike vital installations.
Gupta said that the “present phase” to “revive terror activities” in Punjab began with 2015 fidayeen attack on Dinanagar police station, attack on Pathankot airbase and targeted killings. Since then Punjab Police has busted several terror modules and made huge recoveries of weapons.
A few months ago, 11 hand grenades dropped by a drone flying in from Pakistan were seized near the International Border in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
The first incident of dropping of arms and weapons through drones from Pakistan came to light in Punjab in September 2019 when police recovered AK-47 rifles, magazines and rounds of ammunition, hand grenades, fake currency and other items in Tarn Taran district.
The DGP appealed to the public to remain alert at all times and report to the police if they find any suspicious item lying abandoned or unclaimed anywhere, including in trains, buses or restaurants. “People can inform the police on 112 or 181 helpline numbers,” he added.
Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered under provisions of the Arms Act, and the Explosive Substances Act at the Lopoke Police Station Amritsar.
Punjab police advisory for people
- Always keep a lookout for suspicious objects
- Scan your surroundings for anything out of place
- Never handle an unclaimed or suspicious object
- Evacuate everyone immediately to a safe distance
- Open all windows and doors
- Punjab police directions to officers in the field
- Place sandbags around the suspected object
- Remove all unstable articles – fuel, electronic items etc. From the vicinity
- Things to be avoided
- Don’t touch, disturb or approach the suspected object
- Don’t try to submerge the suspicious object in water
- Don’t try to open or puncture the suspicious object
- Don’t try to be a dead hero
- Don’t spread rumours
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.