Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday visited the Amritsar blast site. He was accompanied by State Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The blast that took place on Sunday and claimed three lives.
Commenting on Amritsar blast, Singh on Sunday said that the possibility of involvement of ISI-based Khalistani/Kashmiri terror groups could not be ruled out.
“The possibility of involvement of ISI-based Khalistani/Kashmiri terror groups could not be ruled out. Police teams have been rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants and multiple teams are investigating various angles to crack the case,” Singh said.
He also announced Rs. 5 lakh compensation for the kin of the dead and free treatment for the injured.
Three persons were killed and several others injured in a grenade attack on a religious congregation in Amritsar on Sunday, police said.
The grenade was lobbed by bike-borne persons at a religious congregation of 'Nirankaris' which was being held at Adhiwala village, according to eyewitness accounts.
"A grenade has been lobbed and 5-10 persons have been injured in the incident," a senior Punjab police official, who visited the incident spot, told reporters.
Three persons were killed in the incident, the official said.
Punjab was on alert following an input claiming that a group of six to seven JeM terrorists were reportedly in the state, possibly in Ferozepur area. The state was put on alert after four persons snatched a SUV from its driver at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district last week.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday spoke to Singh and took stock of the situation.
Singh also vowed to take strongest possible action against the perpetrators of the crime.
"Spoke to the Chief Minister of Punjab, @capt_amarinder ji who has apprised me of the situation in the wake of grenade attack in Amritsar. Strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of this crime (sic)," he tweeted.
The home minister said he was deeply anguished by the death of the innocent people in the grenade attack in Amritsar.
"It is a reprehensible act of violence. My condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this attack and prayers for speedy recovery of the injured," Singh said.
Recalling the scenes that followed the attack on "Nirankaris", the eyewitnesses said they were panicked, shocked and scrambled through a thick blanket of smoke.
They said it was a usual Sunday congregation at the Bhavan on the outskirts of Amritsar city, until the bombers struck.
"Each Sunday, I do 'sewa' at the Bhavan. I was on duty near the stage when I saw a person, who appeared young, with his face covered, throw something and run. The next thing I remember is that there was a blast, smoke all over and everyone ran around for their lives,” Simranjeet Kaur told reporters outside the premises.
A man said his daughter was deputed at one of the entry gates to frisk women devotees visiting the place.
"She told me that two people came there and pointed a pistol at her after which she panicked. The next thing she knows that people were rushing out in fear after a grenade was hurled inside," he said.
A devotee who was inside the Bhavan said, "I saw blood at the spot after the blast. Although I did not see the attackers, I was told by other devotees that two youth had come on a motorcycle. They gained entry inside and hurled explosive and escaped. Both appeared to be youth with faces covered".
Another man, who identified himself as Gurpreet Singh, said he lives near the Bhavan, which is also close to the Amritsar international airport.
"I was in my home when someone said a cylinder had burst at Nirankari Bhavan. When I reached there, I saw injured people being taken to hospital in ambulances," he said.
Pawandeep Singh, an ambulance driver, said he took many seriously injured to Guru Nanak hospital in Amritsar. Injured people were also rushed to a private hospital.
WATCH VIDEO: Amritsar blast: 3 killed in grenade attack on Nirankari Bhawan despite high-alert
(With inputs from agencies)