Punjab, Nov 27, 2016: Ten armed men in police uniform stormed into the high-security Nabha Central Jail near Patiala in Punjab. Assailants fired 200 rounds and took away five Khalistani militants, including Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo.
Mintoo and gangsters Vicky Gondar, Neeta Johal and terrorist among those freed by the Nabha jail attackers. Mintoo is an accused in 10 terror cases. He was arrested in 2014.
Senior police officials have rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area.
The attackers, about 10-12 in number and carrying weapons, entered the jail premises in two cars, including a Toyota Fortuner SUV.
The attack took place when the prisoners were brought out of their barracks for morning chores, jail sources said.
After the sensational jailbreak took place, Witnesses told media that “I was going on my motorcycle when I saw 2-3 cars with armed men inside. They were firing in the air and were in police uniforms.”
Alleging connivance of the Badal government in the brazen jail break, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh said “the incident had exposed a complete breakdown of law and order in the state, while triggering fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the assembly elections.
“The shocking manner in which the gangsters walked into the high-security jail and freed a dreaded Khalistani terrorist along with other convicts clearly shows complicity at the highest levels,” Amarinder Singh said.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal told media that “We have suspended Nabha jail DG, Jail superintendent and Jail deputy superintendent.”
Special Task force under the intelligence have been set up to track these criminals, he added.
Badal, also the Home Minister, called an emergency meeting of top police officers to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, MoS PMO Jitendra Singh said: “Concerned agencies will take cognizance of this and do what is appropriate.” He added, “We have been given to understand that the government is in full control.”
Congress leader Manish Tiwari points out a lack of law and order by saying “If a high-security prison can be attacked like this, it’s an alarming development.”
The jailbreak took place just two months before crucial assembly elections in Punjab early next year. The incident is being seen as a major security breach and intelligence failure.
Several top terrorists, gangsters and criminals are lodged in the Nabha Jail, which has maximum security among Punjab prisons and is about 100 km from Chandigarh.