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PUNJAB POLICE STATION STATE TARGETED BY KHALISTANI MILITANTS, SECOND TIME THIS YEAR

Region of Concern: India

Written By Mridul Mahendroo; Edited by Laila Bayoumi

Date: December 10, 2022


Punjab District Map[1]


Event: On December 9, 2022, a police station in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district was targeted by unidentified attackers. A weapon similar to a rocket launcher was fired at the police station. The launcher used by the attackers has been found by law enforcement authorities. The national administrator of the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal, declared that swift action will be taken and a police investigation has been initiated. This event is concerning as a similar incident took place on May 9, 2022, when a rocket-propelled grenade was launched at the Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters.[2]


Significance: The presence of militant groups claiming independence and recent regional terrorist activity by separatists make it likely that this attack was aimed at the police to challenge the Indian State. It is likely that there will be further attacks on governmental establishments such as police stations and administrative buildings using explosive devices or weapons. The declarations made by Arvind Kejriwal make it very likely that the government will respond quickly to this incident and that force will be used in the case of further attacks. It is likely that this attack is linked to the previous one aimed at the Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters due to the similarity in the modus operandi. If this is the case, it is likely that the perpetrators of this attack obtained financial or operational help from a foreign country such as Canada[3], where the perpetrator of the attack in May 2022 is based. It is also likely that this aid originated from Pakistan, as Tarn Taran district is located at its border.


Recommendations: The Indian government should actively launch a regional investigation to track the perpetrators of this attack through a collaboration between local police and the Intelligence Bureau. Local police should identify individuals suspected to be affiliated with terrorist groups living in the district and investigate their recent activities. Regional communication channels should be monitored to identify any suspicious activity related to the attack. The location of the attack should be thoroughly investigated and information concerning the launcher should be extracted to determine the origin of the weapon. Security measures at police stations and critical governmental infrastructure must be reviewed and increased. State authorities are recommended to communicate alerts to these establishments informing them of potential threats. Intelligence found should be compared to previous attacks to establish links with specific terrorist groups and determine potential foreign involvement in the attacks.

 

[1] "Punjab district map" by Wikigringo licensed under CC BY 2.0

[2] 'Since AAP came to power…': Kejriwal slams RPG attack on Punjab police station, Hindustan Times, December 2022, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/since-aap-came-to-power-kejriwal-slams-rpg-attack-on-punjab-police-station-101670656337116.html

[3] Ibid

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