Highlights

  • Union govt alerted Punjab police regarding possible jailbreak plot: report
  • Mastermind is Pakistan-based gangster-turned-terrorist Harvinder Rinda
  • Punjab has had a series of jailbreaks in recent years, including Nabha incident

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Pak spies planning Punjab jail mass breakout? Plot to help gangsters, Khalistani terrorists, says report

Punjab has a dark history of jailbreaks with the most sinister incident in recent years being the Nabha one in November 2016 when a dozen people broke into the prison and freed 6 alleged terrorists and gangsters.

A sinister conspiracy to stage a mass breakout of terrorists and gangsters from jails - this intelligence alert has reportedly been received by Punjab authorities. The state is already reeling from a series of high-profile crimes, including the murder of Sidhu Moose Wala. The latest conspiracy is reportedly being hatched by gangsters and terrorists sitting in Pakistan.

The intel alert was sent to Punjab Police by the Union Home Ministry, as per an Indian Express report. Four prisons - Amritsar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, and Ferozepur - might be on the target list. The objective is to ensure the release of some prominent gangsters and Khalistani terrorists. Apart from career criminals, 'jihadi' elements might also be roped in to help, as per the report.

The mastermind behind the conspiracy is believed to be Harvinder Singh Rinda. He is a gangster-turned-terrorists believed to be in Pakistan currently. Rinda is considered close to Babbar Khalsa International chief Wadhawa Singh. He is believed to be under the protection of Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.

ALSO WATCH | 5 most wanted gangsters in Punjab, Haryana: after Sidhu Moose Wala's murder, a look at top criminals

Rinda is one of the main suspects in the attack on Punjab Police's Intelligence headquarters in Mohali. The building had been hit by a grenade on May 9. Rinda is also believed to have had a hand in the terror attack in Nawanshahr on November 8, 2021. Crime Investigation Agency's building had been targeted in the attack. Alleged associates of Rinda had been held in May 2022 in a weapon smuggling case.

Punjab has a dark history of jailbreaks. One of the most high-profile was the Nabha incident in November 2016. A dozen people broke into the prison and freed 6 alleged terrorists and gangsters. Two years later, a 50-year-old serving a 10-year sentence escaped from the same prison.

Then, in February 2020, three inmates escaped from Amritsar Central Jail by scaling the boundary wall. A month later, four prisoners used blankets as rope to climb out of the Ludhiana Central Jail. In May 2020, two murder and attempted murder convicts broke out of Sangrur Jail. In April 2021, three prisoners escaped from Patiala Central Jail during night curfew in the city.

Punjab has been in headlines for the past few weeks due to multiple law and order issues. On March 14, international kabaddi player Sandeep Singh Nangal Ambian killed in Jalandhar. On April 29, clashes occurred between Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), and alleged pro-Khalistan elements during an anti-Khalistan march. On May 9, the Punjab Police intel HQ in Mohali was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade. Less than 3 weeks later, Punjabi singer and Congress leader Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead in Mansa.

On June 5, Punjab's jails minister Harjot Singh Bains paid a surprise visit to Ludhiana Central Jail. He said, "Punjab CM has vowed to reform Punjab jails which had become safehouses for gangsters till now. We have recovered around 1,000 mobile phones so far. This is a record seizure. We're making sure jammers which had been malfunctioning are working properly now. We're getting jammers installed where they were missing."

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