In a sensational jailbreak, a group of armed men in police uniform on Sunday attacked the high-security Nabha Jail here and fled with five prisoners, including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.
Heads started to roll soon after the incident with the Punjab Government suspending DG (Jails) and dismissing two other senior prison officials even as the opposition Congress said the incident exposed the “complete breakdown of law and order” in the state and triggered fears of revival of terrorism ahead of assembly elections.
The Centre has sought a report from the state government over the jailbreak incident.
Giving details of the jailbreak, police said a group of youths dressed in police uniform stormed the jail and opened indiscriminate fire.
Five prisoners including a hardcore terrorist escaped, they said.
Those who escaped from the high-security prison include gangster Vicky Gaundar, Gurpreet Sekhon, Nita Deol, Vikramjeet, and Mintoo, police said.
Mintoo was arrested by Punjab Police from Delhi’s IGI Airport in 2014. He was arrested in connection with 10 cases including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force Station in 2010.
A high alert has been sounded in Punjab and Haryana after the incident with security around railway stations, airports, inter-state bus terminuses and other places of key importance stepped up. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has summoned an emergent meeting of senior officials including State Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal following the incident.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal said, “DG Jails has been suspended and Jail superintendent and Deputy Jail Superintendent have been dismissed”. A manhunt has been launched to trace the prisoners who escaped, Sukhbir Badal, who also holds the home portfolio, said and added that a special task force has been formed to track them.
The Deputy CM said a special investigation team under a ADGP rank officer has also been constituted which shall look into lapses as well as any conspiracy theories surrounding the jail break incident.
Car jumps barrier, woman killed after cops open fire
In another development, a woman was killed when police opened fire at a vehicle which had jumped a barrier. The incident occurred at a ‘naka’ on Patiala-Gulha Cheeka road. Police tried to stop the car, but its driver did not stop despite being asked to and when police opened fire, a woman who received the gunshot wounds was killed.