Three Arrested in Ayodhya Connected to Khalistan, Confirms UP ATS

Security Alert: UP ATS Detains Trio with Suspected Khalistan Ties Ahead of Ayodhya Ceremony

Jan 20, 2024 - 02:04
Jan 20, 2024 - 02:04
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Three Arrested in Ayodhya Connected to Khalistan, Confirms UP ATS
Three Arrested in Ayodhya Connected to Khalistan, Confirms UP ATS

UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has disclosed potential Khalistan connections of three individuals arrested in Ayodhya just days before the scheduled 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony. Identified as Shankar Dussad alias Shankar Jajod, Ajit Kumar Sharma, and Pradeep Puniya, the suspects, all residents of Rajasthan, raised suspicion due to their alleged ties to Khalistan.

Khalistani Arrested in Ayodhya Shankar Dussad alias Shankar Jajod, Ajit Kumar Sharma

The investigation gained momentum when a recorded voice message, attributed to Khalistan leaders, circulated on mobile phones in Lucknow. The message, impersonating Khalistan terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, issued a warning to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath regarding accountability on January 22, linked to the activities of the US-based Sikh for Justice (SFJ). SFJ supports Punjab's secession from India and seemingly connected the message to the upcoming consecration of the Ram Temple.

Confirming the identities of the accused, UP Police Director General Prashant Kumar revealed that Shankar Dussad and Pradeep Puniya hailed from Sikar district, while Ajit Kumar Sharma was from Jhunjhunu district. Dussad, in contact with Pannun through arms smuggler Lakhbir Singh Sandhu, was reportedly instructed to survey Ayodhya and prepare a map of the site.

The suspects were apprehended during a routine vehicle check in Ayodhya near Trimurti Hotel. Further investigation unveiled that Dussad had utilized forged identity proofs and registration papers for the vehicle. Notably, Dussad had been released on bail in May 2023 after spending over seven years in Bikaner Central Jail.

During his time in prison, Dussad allegedly established links with Khalistan groups, maintaining communication with leaders through WhatsApp. He was associated with the gang of the slain gangster Rajendra Jaat and took charge after Jaat's demise in December 2022. Dussad, with a criminal history dating back to 2007, had multiple cases against him, including the murders of Congress's youth wing leader Ram Krishna Sihag in 2011 and prisoner Balveer Banuda in 2014.

As Ayodhya reinforces security measures ahead of the scheduled event, authorities across the state are intensifying checks in response to audio messages circulating on social media, warning of potential incidents related to the SFJ.

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