Grenade attack at Amritsar prayer hall kills three, injures 10

Updated: Nov 19, 2018, 09:20 IST | Agencies | Amritsar

The blast occurred during a religious gathering at the Nirankari Bhavan, close to the international airport

Relatives of one of the victims react to the grenade attack at Nirankari Bhavan during a religious congregation, in Adliwal village. Pic/PTI
Relatives of one of the victims react to the grenade attack at Nirankari Bhavan during a religious congregation, in Adliwal village. Pic/PTI

Three persons were killed and at least 10 injured in a grenade attack on a prayer hall, which had around 200 devotees, on the outskirts of the city on Sunday. The blast occurred during a religious gathering of the Nirankari sect at Nirankari Bhavan in Adliwal village near Amritsar's Rajasansi, which is close to the international airport. According to eyewitness accounts, bike-borne persons threw the grenade at the hall.

"Three people have died in the incident while 10 have been injured, two of them critically," Inspector General of Police S S Parmar, who visited the incident spot, said. Quoting eyewitness accounts, the IG said the two accused were carrying a pistol and after hurling the explosive, they escaped from the site. A hunt is on to nab them, he said.

He said about 200 devotees were inside the hall at the time of the incident. No CCTV was installed at the premises, according to preliminary probe. After reviewing the law and order situation, he directed the home secretary, DGP (law and order) and DG intelligence to rush to Rajasansi for supervising the investigation.

Some eyewitness accounts said two armed and masked persons, who were on a motorcycle forced their way inside the bhavan by pointing a gun at a woman devotee. "After they gained entry, they threw a grenade-like object at the congregation and escaped," said an eyewitness.

'It appears to be a terrorist act'
The Punjab police said the grenade attack on a religious congregation in Amritsar appears to be a "terrorist act". "It appears to have a terror angle. Because it is against a group and not against any individual. There is no reason to throw a hand grenade on a group of people, so we will take it as a terrorist act, till proven otherwise," Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora said.

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